A Home For All

Niagara's Housing and Homelessness Action Plan | Community Update

Vision and Goals

A Home for All is Niagara's 10-year Community Action Plan to help everyone in Niagara have a home.

A Home for All has enabled the coordination of efforts to address community housing and homelessness needs.

A Home for All provides a complete vision for addressing local needs related to access to affordable housing and homelessness.

All actions within A Home for All support achievement of the following four goals:

Home For All

Goal 1

House people who do not have a home

Goal 2

Help people find and retain a home

Goal 3

Increase opportunities and options across housing continuum

Goal 4

Build capacity and improve effectiveness of the housing system

Mission and Working Groups

Niagara Region and its community partners aspire to meet the diverse housing needs of individuals and families through leadership and collaboration, by building on existing community assets and by empowering citizens.

The systems-level work of A Home for All requires engagement of many internal and community partners. The structure to support broad engagement includes the A Home for All Taskforce and five working groups developed in 2015 to support ongoing work.

Each working group is led by a senior leader from a community organization and involves membership from a cross-section of service providers and other partners.

Support for the working groups is provided by staff from Niagara Region Community Services, Planning and Development Services, Public Health and Emergency Services, and Niagara Regional Housing. The five working groups, their leaders, and 2018 accomplishments include:

Elisabeth Zimmermann
Housing First is a international recognized best practice program of rapid rehousing with supports for people experiencing chronic or episodic homelessness. In 2018 this group reviewed and endorsed the newly revised program fidelity scale. They also launched a lived experience advisory group for persons experiencing homelessness to share their voice and provide input into local policies and services.

Elisabeth Zimmermann, Executive Director, YWCA Niagara

Christina Clark-Lafleur, Executive Director, Port Cares
Service Hubs provide the community with a physical or virtual destination that offers various services in one location. In 2018 this group researched best practices and funding opportunities for local service hubs.

Christina Clark-Lafleur, Executive Director, Port Cares

Michael Lethby, Executive Director, The RAFT
Prevention reduces homelessness by keeping at-risk youth, singles and families housed, and preventing people from experiencing a first instance of homelessness. In 2018 this group began exploring how lessons learned from successful local youth diversion programs could be transferred to new adult diversion programming.

Michael Lethby, Executive Director, The RAFT

Mike Taylor, Executive Director of Youth Resources Niagara
No Wrong Door A "No Wrong Door" approach to service delivery means that no matter where a person enters the system, he or she can access any needed services. In 2018 this group supported additional service system mapping and explored opportunities and challenges for transferring clients across systems.

Mike Taylor, Executive Director of Youth Resources Niagara

Lori Beech, Executive Director of Bethlehem Housing
Housing Affordability Innovationcan enable an increase in the supply of affordable and market rental housing to meet local demand. This group reviewed different innovations being used across North America to develop affordable housing and organized the 2018 National Housing Day event on the topic of "An Affordable Housing Toolkit".

Lori Beech, Executive Director of Bethlehem Housing

Jeffrey Sinclair, Homelessness Action Plan Advisor, Niagara Region
A Home for All working groups are facilitated by:

Jeffrey Sinclair
Homelessness Action Plan Advisor
Niagara Region
905-980-6000 ext. 3814
jeffrey.sinclair@niagararegion.ca

Housing and Homelessness Services by Numbers (2018)

Niagara Housing Statement

In 2018 Homelessness Services and Planning and Development Services retained the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) to develop a Niagara Housing Statement to inform A Home for All and the Official Plan by identifying affordable housing supply and demand data for Niagara Region and all 12 local area municipalities forecasted out to 2041. Data will be available in April 2019.

31

Individuals placed through Home for Good program

3,615

Issuances of the housing stability plan assistance

451

Households accessed supportive transitional housing

39.6

Average number of days in shelter per user

1,835

Households utilized emergency hostel services

67

New households placed through the Housing First program *

2,162

Households were helped through homelessness prevention services

5,377

Households were on the affordable housing waitlist in 2018

47

Households received a forgivable loan to help buy their first home

49

Homeowners received assistance through Niagara Renovates

618

Affordable housing units provided within CMHC average rents **

2,684

Rent-Geared-to-Income units provided (public housing)

3,601

Non-Profit and Co-operatives units provided

1,370

Rent Supplement and Housing Allowance units provided

  • *   At the end of 2018, 136 individuals were housed in the Housing First Program
  • ** 91 NRH-owned units, from the Fitch Seniors building in Welland and the Broadoak Family community in Niagara Falls, have affordable (80% market) and market rents

New Development Updates

New NRH DevelopmentAmountUnitsStatus
Niagara Regional Housing, Carlton Street, St. Catharines $11,081,817 85 92% complete
Niagara Regional Housing, Roach Avenue, Welland $1,200,000 8 net new 22% complete
Stamford Kiwanis, Barker Street, Niagara Falls $1,089,088 17 60% complete
New NRH DevelopmentAmountUnitsStatus
Gateway Residential & Community Support Services, King Street, Port Colborne $1,134,608 8 Complete in 2019
YWCA Niagara Region, Oakdale Avenue, St. Catharines $4,115,551 15 Complete in 2020

Progress Towards Achieving the Mid-Term

The Plan includes 24 activities to be completed in the mid term (years 4 to 6) of the plan. 2018 marked the second year of this mid-term work.

By December 2018, 20 of the mid-term activities had been completed and 4 were underway.

Highlighted Accomplishments

  • Operationalized 40 new community based supportive housing units and initiated capital/construction of 23 new apartment units for Home for Good participants.
  • Increased shelter capacity by 45 beds in response to increased system pressures.
  • Introduced shelter standards for regionally funded emergency shelters.
  • Completed Niagara's second homelessness enumeration in March 2018.
  • NRH housing allowance program provided a set allowance for 639 applicants on waitlist.
  • Launched a landlord engagement pilot to recruit landlords for Housing First and Home for Good to serve those struggling with chronic homelessness.
  • Worked with Planning and Development to ensure that the strategies identified for the next five years of the HHAP also align with requirements and recommendations of the Official Plan.
  • NRH identified St. Catharines' Manchester community as in need of enhanced community development. In collaboration with Niagara College and The RAFT, NRH hosted a family day. NRH and The RAFT also extended summer camps with weekend programming and introduced a social enterprise through two Manchester youth paid as "Community Attendants" to help maintain the grounds. These positive initiatives resulted in a dramatic increase in community engagement and reduction in social issues.
  • Established an Affordable Housing Working group with Community Services, Niagara Regional Housing, Planning and Development, and Finance to coordinate and maximize efforts to support the Region's affordable housing efforts.
  • Functioned as an information resource for local area municipalities as several initiated their own Affordable Housing efforts (Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Port Colborne).
  • NRH successfully negotiated rent supplement agreements with six of eight housing providers that reached End of Operating Agreements.
  • Launched a Lived Experience Advisory group to engage and receive input in service delivery and system planning from those with experience of homelessness.Recruitment of an industry consultant within Planning and Development Services and met with numerous interested developers to understand local development interests and describe available incentives and supports to support local development.
  • Enlisted Whitesell and Associates to complete a review of the homelessness services system.
  • Niagara Regional Housing, Homelessness Services, and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) partnered with the City of St. Catharines to host the 2018 National Housing Day event for 110+ attendees on the topic of "A Local Development Toolkit".
  • Worked with Niagara Region's Internal Control and Organizational Performance (ICOP) division to develop Key Performance Indicators for the work of years six to ten to fulfil provincial guidance for the five-year review of 10-year Plan (2018).
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