Niagara's Housing and Homelessness Action Plan

2022 Community Update

Learn about the activities and outcomes of the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan

See the community update

Niagara Region launched its 10-year Housing and Homelessness Action Plan in 2014. The plan was updated in 2019 after reviewing activities and accomplishments from 2014 to 2018.

The updated Housing and Homelessness Action Plan provides a strategy for addressing the issues of affordable housing and homelessness in Niagara from 2019 to 2023. It coordinates efforts to increase access to affordable housing, reduce homelessness, and end chronic homelessness in Niagara.

Vision and goals

The vision of the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan is that everyone in Niagara have a home.

  • Goal 1: House people who do not have a home
  • Goal 2: Help people to retain a home
  • Goal 3: Increase housing options and opportunities for low- and medium-income households
  • Goal 4: Build capacity and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the housing and homelessness system

Key areas of work

Niagara Region can only achieve the goals of the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan by collaborating with non-profit organizations, private sector, other levels of government, and citizens. The updated plan supports community leadership and collaboration through a task force and several working groups related to key areas of work.

Each working group is led by a senior leader from the community with relevant knowledge and expertise, and involves membership from a cross section of service providers and other partners. The working groups include:

  • Assertive Street Outreach
  • Housing-Focused Shelter
  • Supported Transitional Housing
  • Housing First and Home for Good
  • Coordinated Access and By-Name List
  • Lived Experience and Peer Support
  • Homelessness Prevention and Diversion
  • Housing Provider Advisory Committee
  • Housing Affordability and Innovation

Staff from Niagara Region Community Services, Niagara Regional Housing and Planning and Development Services provide support for the working groups.

Recommendations to address homelessness

The Lived Expert Advisory Committee learns from those who have personal experiences with homelessness. The committee meets monthly to provide feedback on services.

During the September and October 2023 meetings, 20 lived experts discussed strategies to better address homelessness. Participants represented various demographics, including men, women, youth, seniors, individuals facing mental health challenges (including substance use) and trained peer support members. Some had stable housing while others did not or were staying in emergency shelters.

Summary of key suggestions:

  • Ensure there is enough safe, affordable housing for all who are experiencing homelessness
  • Enable access to safe, discrimination-free spaces, supports and programs for community members who are experiencing homelessness. This includes safe places to be indoors at night and during the day during harsh weather.
  • Increase accessible and discrimination-free support for mental health, addictions and other health issues
  • Provide access to free, meaningful activities with friends, such as libraries, sports and places to relax during the day, to avoid the perception of loitering
  • Prioritize safety and security for community members experiencing homelessness and their belongings, addressing concerns with current emergency shelter safety
  • Provide additional support for victims of violence, particularly women, youth and 2SLGBTQIAA+ individuals, including peer support during legal processes
  • Engage community members experiencing homelessness in improving their own safety and reducing disruptive behaviour
  • Promote meaningful inclusion of community members experiencing homelessness in efforts to build solutions
  • Integrate trained peer support workers into solutions, offering hope and direction based on shared experiences
  • Educate the public about homelessness to address misunderstanding and stigma to work together in finding solutions
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