Niagara Region successful in joining the Built for Zero Canada Collaborative to work towards ending homelessness

​On July 23, Niagara Region was announced as one of nine successful applicants to participate in the BFZ-C Collaborative and is currently in the signing process of the Community Agreement. The nine successful communities of the 2019-2020 Collaborative will join 24 other communities linked to BFZ-C.

Built for Zero is a Canadian movement, led by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, which supports participating communities to work toward an end to chronic and high-acuity homelessness.

Niagara Region submitted an application in June to join BFZ-C, alongside 16 other communities. Niagara Regional Council endorsed the application and, in addition, several community leaders committed to champion the efforts of BFZ-C:

  • Walter Sendzik, Mayor of St. Catharines
  • Michael Lethby, Executive Director of The Raft
  • John Osczypko, Executive Director of Gateway Residential and Community Support Services of Niagara
  • Debbie Sexsmith, Co-interim Executive Director of Niagara Regional Native Centre
  • Elizabeth Zimmermann, Executive Director of the YWCA Niagara Region

What does joining the Built for Zero Canada Collaborative mean for Niagara?

Participating communities are coached in the adoption of proven practices and strategies, targeted to their local context. Some of these include the development of a By-Name List, the use of a common assessment tool, and policies and procedures that support a “No Wrong Door” approach.

Niagara Region will be connected to several other Canadian communities linked to BFZ-C that also believe ending chronic homelessness is possible. Participating communities are provided with a variety of coaching and learning opportunities that will build system capacity to end chronic homelessness in Niagara Region, such as group learning sessions, coaching, cheat sheets, and peer support.

For more information visit the Built for Zero Canada website​.


"By joining the Built for Zero Canada Collaborative, I believe that our team at Niagara Region will be empowered to explore new strategies and projects that will help improve the quality of life of some of our most vulnerable community members."
~ Jim Bradley, Regional Chair
"I believe that the supports available through BFZ-C, including opportunities for learning, coaching, peer support and monthly reporting to track progress and support decision-making, would provide invaluable benefit to Niagara’s team as they transform the local system and solve chronic homelessness."
~ Walter Sendzik, Mayor of St. Catharines
"Everyone in Niagara deserves adequate housing and to be supported by their community. As Niagara Region works towards ending chronic homelessness, the Built for Zero Collaborative will help us explore new ways to provide the support that vulnerable members of our community so desperately need."
~ Adrienne Jugley, Commissioner of Community Services
"I believe that the core components of Built for Zero – a Housing First approach, a Quality By-Name List, a Coordinated Access System, and a homelessness information management system shared across providers – are critically important for ending chronic homelessness."
~ Michael Lethby, Executive Director of the RAFT


Katie Desharnais
Niagara Region
905-980-6000 ext. 3290

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