Homeless in Canada

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Moving Forward: Recommendations for Community Action

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
MOVING FORWARD – Recommendations for Community Action is the outcome of Community Conversations on Poverty in Hastings and Prince Edward counties, in which more than 500 community members came together to talk about poverty - their experience of it, what is working, what isn’t and how to end it. This is the SECOND report in a series of reports informed by the Community Conversations. The rst report LEANING IN – Community Conversations on Poverty in Hastings Prince Edward, is a summary of the stories we heard in the conversations. This action planning document, which will guide planning and future considerations for the eradication of poverty in our community, is the second community report on poverty.
Categories: Housing

Temporary Accommodation in Scotland: Interim Report

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
On behalf of HARSAG, Social Bite (an Edinburgh-based social enterprise with a mission to end homelessness in Scotland, whose co-founder Josh Littlejohn is a member of HARSAG) commissioned Heriot-Watt University’s Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) to conduct research mapping the current landscape, with a view to enabling an assessment of the nature of the transformation to TA in Scotland now required. The overall aim of the study is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the current situation, including key stakeholder and TA resident perspectives, to inform future policy development. This interim report details emerging findings from the initial stages of the study, these being: a review of existing research and literature; qualitative interview with 16 expert key informants; and analysis of national statistics on TA type and usage.
Categories: Housing

Clinical and functional characteristics of young adults living in single room occupancy housing: preliminary findings from a 10-year longitudinal stud

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Objective Young adults living in single room occupancy (SRO) hotels, a form of low-income housing, are known to have complex health and substance problems compared to their peers in the general population. The objective of this study is to comprehensively describe the mental, physical, and social health profile of young adults living in SROs.  Methods This study reports baseline data from young adults aged 18–29 years, as part of a prospective cohort study of adults living in SROs in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Baseline and follow-up data were collected from 101 young adults (median follow-up period 1.9 years [IQR 1.0–3.1]). The comprehensive assessment included laboratory tests, neuroimaging, and clinician- and patient-reported measures of mental, physical, and social health and functioning.  Results Three youth died during the preliminary follow-up period, translating into a higher than average mortality rate (18.6, 95% CI 6.0, 57.2) compared to age- and sex-matched Canadians. High prevalence of interactions with the health, social, and justice systems was reported. Participants were living with median two co-occurring illnesses, including mental, neurological, and infectious diseases. Greater number of multimorbid illnesses was associated with poorer real-world functioning (ρ = − 0.373, p < 0.001). All participants reported lifetime alcohol and cannabis use, with pervasive use of stimulants and opioids.  Conclusion This study reports high mortality rates, multimorbid illnesses, poor functioning, poverty, and ongoing unmet mental health needs among young adults living in SROs. Frequent interactions with the health, social, and justice systems suggest important points of intervention to improve health and functional trajectories of this vulnerable population.
Categories: Housing

Peer support critical elements and experiences in supporting the homeless: A qualitative study

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Peer supporters are individuals with lived experience and are an integral part of health care systems, providing support to those affected by various phenomena such as homelessness and addictions. However, little is known about the critical elements that underpin peer support interventions. This qualitative study sought to understand the critical elements of intentional peer support with a homeless population, voiced by those who provide and/or receive this support. Twenty‐nine participants from 4 different homeless charities in England were interviewed about their experiences of providing/receiving peer support and what they felt were critical factors to its success. Participants defined peer support as an experience‐based relationship, built upon mutual understanding, empathy, and support. Thematic analysis was utilised to in developing 6 themes. Results identified peers' persistence in developing unique experience‐based relationships, providing social support, role modelling recovery, and peers' motivations were perceived as important factors involved in peer support. It was also found that peers described benefitting from helping, such as, undergoing transformative identity developments that helped them to escape homelessness. Through the retelling of their stories, they create meaning and restructure their autobiography, attributing experiences of homelessness as a catalyst for positive changes in their lives. Limitations and future research are discussed.
Categories: Housing

Advisory Committee on Homelessness Final Report

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
The Advisory Committee on Homelessness, chaired by Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs), was announced in June 2017. Consisting of 13 members from across the country with varied backgrounds, the Committee has worked diligently since the announcement through conference calls, online collaboration, in‑person meetings and attendance at regional roundtables.  Committee members bring a wealth and diversity of experience to the table. Their collective membership spans policy, advocacy and community service provision, and many have been in this field for over 20 years. In addition, two members have their own lived experience1 of homelessness and bring that perspective, and the perspective of their clients living in homelessness, to bear on each discussion. 
Categories: Housing

Submission to the National Consultation on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Housing

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
As the details of the National Housing Strategy roll out, the Government of Canada continues to make its intentions clear: the forthcoming housing strategy will be rooted in a human rights-based approach. The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness lauds this commitment.  During this consultation phase, we offer our perspective on how the government can develop, implement and most importantly, guarantee a right to housing. To do so, they must go beyond a human rights approach. To see an end to homelessness in Canada — and access to safe, affordable housing for all — the Government of Canada must make an explicit, actionable and judiciable commitment to housing as an inalienable human right.  Toward this effort, we make recommendations. These recommendations are formed in consultation with A Way Home Canada, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and other knowledgeable stakeholders. We draw heavily from the recommendations made by Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. The strategies set forth by the Special Rapporteur provide a strong, principled foundation from which to build the National Housing Strategy on.
Categories: Housing

Seen or Unseen? The Role of Race in Police Contact among Homeless Youth

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Abstract Homeless youth are at an increased risk of police contact—being stopped by police and arrested, yet it is less clear if this interaction is patterned by race. The current study draws on diverse scholarship to examine three possible effects of race on homeless youths’ interaction with police: that non-White homeless youth are more likely (disproportionate minority contact/symbolic assailants), less likely (out-of-place policing) or no different than White youth (master status) to experience police contact. Using the Midwest Longitudinal Study of Homeless Adolescents, we examine homeless youths’ odds of self-reported police harassment and arrest. Non-White homeless youth are more likely to report police harassment and arrest, but living on the street neutralizes these racial disparities. Further, prior police harassment is linked to subsequent arrest, operating similarly for White and non-White homeless youth. We discuss the implications of these findings for advancing scholarship on the challenges faced by homeless youth.
Categories: Housing

Australian Homelessness Monitor 2018

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
This study provides an independent analysis of homelessness in Australia. It analyses changes in the scale and nature of the problem and investigates the incidence of the many social, economic and policy drivers of homelessness.  The findings of this study can be summarised in terms of: (1) the changing scope and pattern of homelessness (2) the nature of broader social and economic drivers that condition the risk of homelessness, especially for some groups such as low-income households, and (3) the particular relevance of policy at federal, state and territory levels in both exacerbating and easing homelessness.  This is especially the case in respect to housing policies, income support policies and policies that support homelessness programs. Attention is also given in the study to Indigenous homelessness with a particular emphasis on remote communities.  We demonstrate how public policies, particularly housing and welfare policies, are firstly, critical drivers of homelessness in Australia, and secondly, areas that represent significant opportunities to demonstrably reduce homelessness. Thus, drawing on the prominent UK researchers such as Fitzpatrick and colleagues, who were involved with the original UK Homelessness Monitor, the report acknowledges the complexity of the causes of homelessness, but it similarly identifies a suite of public policy changes that can improve the housing and life outcomes of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Categories: Housing

More than a number: The scale of youth homelessness in the UK

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Data collected for the Youth Homelessness Databank provides a clearer picture of the true scale of youth homelessness in the UK. There is no accurate source of information on the scale of youth homelessness in the UK. In England, while the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)1 publishes annual statistics on the number of young people accepted as statutorily homeless, this only represents a small proportion of the total number of homeless young people. Centrepoint’s Youth Homelessness Databank addresses this data shortfall by creating a central source of information on the number of young people presenting to their local authority as homeless or at risk of homelessness, as well as those who are assessed and subsequently accepted as being statutorily homeless or recorded as being successfully helped in some other way. Centrepoint has built a databank that can help to form a more accurate understanding of the state of youth homelessness in the UK. This report includes a number of findings from the Youth Homelessness Databank data. More data can be found on the Youth Homelessness Databank website2, the open access source of all data collected at a local, regional and national level. It was launched in 2015 and has since accumulated data on the majority of local authorities in England dating back to 2012/13.
Categories: Housing

BC CORONERS SERVICE DEATH REVIEW PANEL: Review of MCFD-Involved Youth Transitioning to Independence

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Adolescence is a time of exciting and intense change. The process of moving from childhood to adulthood can be challenging for young people. For many young people, family continues to provide guidance and support well into early adulthood; however, youth transitioning to adulthood from government care face an additional, simultaneous transition from government support to independence often without similar resources, family support or guidance, and at a younger age than their peers. This report reviews the deaths of vulnerable youth and young adults who had been in government care or were receiving extensive support services and who died during their transition to adulthood. For the period of January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2016, 1,546 youth and young adults aged 17-25 years died from causes classified as accidental, suicide, undetermined, natural or homicide. Of these deaths, 200 (13%) deaths were among youth and young adults who at age of death or at age of majority were in care, were former children in care, or were on independent youth agreements or receiving extensive support services. These young people leaving government care died at five times the rate of the general population of young people in British Columbia. Although many young people leaving care or youth agreements show great resilience and strength as they transition to adulthood, they also face many more challenges than their peers. They may lack a family support network, have limited or no financial resources, often lack life skills, and often have not completed school. They may suffer from low self-esteem and be scarred by trauma associated to violence, childhood neglect and/or abuse. To better understand these deaths and identify prevention opportunities, a death review panel appointed under the Coroners Act was held in December 2017. The circumstances of 200 young people who died while transitioning to independence from government child services between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2016 were reviewed in aggregate. The panel was comprised of professionals with expertise in youth services, child welfare, income support, mental health, addictions, medicine, public health, Indigenous health, injury prevention, education, law enforcement and academia. The review found:  A lack of documented transition planning for youth leaving care or on youth agreements;  A disproportionate number of Indigenous young people died;  High rates of suicide and drug overdose deaths;  High rates of health and mental health issues;  Lower completion of educational attainment; and,  Barriers (systemic and personal) to successfully transition to independence. The panel identified four key areas to reduce the deaths: 1. Extending service supports based on the young person’s needs; 2. Improved communication between service providers with the goal to increase engagement of youth; Page 4 3. Engage with youth on service planning and policy development; and, 4. Monitor outcomes and use findings to support service planning and policy changes.
Categories: Housing

Palliative care for homeless people: a systematic review of the concerns, care needs and preferences, and the barriers and facilitators for providing palliative care

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Background Homeless people often suffer from complex and chronic comorbidities, have high rates of morbidity and die at much younger ages than the general population. Due to a complex combination of physical, psychosocial and addiction problems at the end of life, they often have limited access to palliative care. Both the homeless and healthcare providers experience a lot of barriers. Therefore, providing palliative care that fits the needs and concerns of the homeless is a challenge to healthcare providers. This systematic review aims to summarize evidence about the concerns, palliative care needs and preferences of homeless people, as well as barriers and facilitators for delivering high quality palliative care.
Categories: Housing

Where Will We Live? Ontario&#039;s Affordable Housing Crisis

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
The percentage of renters is increasing in Ontario and across Canada. Renters in Ontario now constitute over 30% of the total population. In the City of Toronto, almost half of all households rent their home. This increase has been largely driven by a growing proportion of renters within the younger generations. Over half of Ontario households between the ages 25 to 34 are renters. This trend may be due to the increasing cost of homeownership, the lack of well-paid and secure jobs and the increasing numbers of single-person households. Low- and moderate-income households are also much more likely to rent their homes. 71% of households with income below $20,000 are renters, compared to only 10% of households with income over $100,000. A significant percentage of renters across Ontario and in Toronto are facing unaffordable housing costs that limit their ability to spend money on other life necessities. Too many people are choosing to forgo a healthy diet or the medication they need just to keep a roof over their head. Many facing rising rents are being displaced from their communities and many more are commuting longer hours between home and work. The road to homelessness for renters living on lower incomes is a stark reality if they lose their job or face a health challenge. Renters are facing a combination of rising housing costs, stagnating incomes, and limited access to subsidized housing. Renters tend to have much lower incomes compared to homeowners. As rental housing costs continue to rise, all levels of government must focus on alleviating the burden of unaffordable housing, especially for low-income renters. Solving the affordable rental housing crisis in our province requires long-term commitment to targeted housing policies and investments that focus on the needs of low- to moderate-income renter households. Rents have risen across Ontario over the past 20 years, particularly since 2011. We know for a fact that our affordable rental housing crisis will not be solved by building more condominiums or luxury purpose-built rentals. We need a combination of targeted policies and investments including funding for social housing, government support for non-profit housing, and strong protections in place for tenants. Preserving the status-quo is no longer an option for the hundreds of thousands of renters struggling every day to keep a roof over their head.
Categories: Housing

Correlates of Treatment Readiness Among Formerly Incarcerated Homeless Women

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Abstract Treatment readiness is a key predictor of drug treatment completion, rearrest, and recidivism during community reentry; however, limited data exist among homeless female offenders (HFOs). The purpose of this study was to present baseline data from a randomized controlled trial of 130 HFOs who had been released from jail or prison. Over half (60.8%) of HFOs had a treatment readiness score of ≥40 (n = 79, mean [μ] = 40.2, SD = 8.72). Bivariate analyses revealed that methamphetamine use, psychological well-being, and high emotional support were positively associated with treatment readiness. On the contrary, depressive symptomatology and depression/anxiety scores were negatively associated with the treatment readiness score. Multiple linear regression revealed that depressive symptomatology was negatively associated with treatment readiness (β = −0.377, p = .001). Further analyses revealed that the effect of emotional support on treatment readiness was mediated by depressive symptomatology.
Categories: Housing

Begging for Change: Begging Restrictions Throughout Washington

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Abstract The act of panhandling, commonly known as begging, is a form of speech protected by the United States Constitution. But Washington’s cities are increasingly enacting laws that criminalize begging, despite courts finding these laws unconstitutional under both the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause. This brief surveys begging restrictions, assessing their scope and legality. This report offers the first statewide analysis of laws that restrict begging.Among the brief's key findings is that the vast majority (86%) of Washington cities criminalize begging; the majority (83%) of these laws result in a criminal charge if violated, leading to serious collateral consequences that impact one’s eligibility for housing and employment. Many of these laws would not survive constitutional scrutiny.
Categories: Housing

Promising Practices for Serving Philadelphia’s Students Who Experience Homelessness

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
FPSN originally developed Promising for Providers Serving Homeless Students in 2010 as a resource for building strong partnerships between family service providers and schools, and this is version II. Promising Practices offers a framework to help providers develop and maintain relationships with key personnel in their children’s schools, provide academic support, lower truancy, and improve parental involvement. Key terms are in bold and defined in the glossary at the rear of this booklet. Some Promising Practices might work differently in congregate emergency (EH) and transitional housing (TH) sites than in scattered housing or Rapid Rehousing sites. Scattered site locations may need to adapt the practices based on feasibility and what best suits the needs of the residents.
Categories: Housing

City of Richmond Housing Affordability Profile: Affordable Housing Strategy 2017–2027 Companion Document

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Housing affordability continues to be a critical issue both regionally and at the local level. Richmond’s Affordable Housing Strategy 2017–2027 has been updated to reflect current and future needs of the community and to align with City and regional planning goals. Central to this update is an understanding of the housing affordability context in Richmond and the needs of existing and future residents so that anticipated policy recommendations can effectively address identified gaps and priorities. The Housing Affordability profile helps to identify current and emerging trends relative to Richmond’s housing market and highlights affordability needs through an analysis of available current demographic and housing data. The document combines quantitative analysis with feedback from a broad range of stakeholders including the public, senior government and the private and non-profit housing sectors, to determine housing gaps and needs in Richmond. The Housing Affordability Profile is one of two companion documents to the Affordable Housing Strategy 2017–2027.
Categories: Housing

Chronic Homelessness

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
As our understanding of homelessness has evolved, we have come to recognize chronic homelessness as a relatively small and “solvable” problem that affects, on average, about 10 to 15 percent of people who experience homelessness. This vulnerable population of people with disabilities is composed primarily of adults living on their own, who either experience homelessness for prolonged periods of time or have repeat episodes of homelessness. Chronic homelessness, in addition to being extremely debilitating to those who experience it, can be very expensive to homeless systems and public systems, including health care and criminal justice. Between 2007 and 2017, the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness on a single night fell by 27.4 percent, compared with a 14.5 percent reduction in homelessness overall. This decline coincided with a national, bipartisan commitment to increase investment and capacity to serve people experiencing chronic homelessness. Since 2007, the number of permanent supportive housing (PSH) beds dedicated to people experiencing chronic homelessness nearly quadrupled, from 37,807 to 149,005. Efforts to target PSH to the most vulnerable people and to prioritize chronic homelessness in programmatic and policy responses also intensified, and randomized-controlled trials have demonstrated that PSH keeps people with behavioral health issues from returning to homelessness. Providing permanent affordable housing to individuals with chronic patterns of homelessness has alsoproven to significantly reduce use of expensive acute care services such as emergency shelters, hospital emergency rooms, and detoxification and sobering centers. As a result, PSH can lead to substantial savingsand, among the heaviest service users, may even be a cost-neutral investment, with the cost of housing subsidies and services offset by reductions in other spending for public services. What are the implications for policymakers and practitioners? From the available evidence, we can draw some clear lessons for policy and practice: Coordinated entry and assessment can be used to differentiate the majority of people experiencing an acute housing crisis from the minority experiencing chronic homelessness, and to refer each group to the appropriate interventions. Accurate identification of those who are most likely to develop chronic patterns of homelessness in the future, in order to provide services to preempt this shift, is not feasible at this time. Treatment and care for people experiencing chronic homelessness should be the primary motivators for any intervention. However, communities that are also hoping to realize cost savings by addressing chronic homelessness will limit savings potential if they only focus on those who are already high-cost users of crisis response systems. Practitioners should consider referring all adults who are homeless with disabilities to rapid re-housing, with the option to transition to PSH as continuing need is revealed, consistent with a Progressive Engagement approach (i.e., initially providing a small amount of assistance to resolve a housing crisis, and then additional assistance as needed after individual assessment). Among the current population of people experiencing chronic homelessness, PSH is still the best fit, possibly with rapid re-housing as a bridge. As individuals with chronic patterns age, they will need more medical services and assistance with activities of daily living rather than behavioral health services. Symptoms of severe mental illness or substance abuse may become less acute, but people develop other severe chronic health conditions. Scalable interventions should be part of the solution, including aggressive enrollment in SSI and shallow rent subsidies when PSH is not available.
Categories: Housing

Housing in Canada&#039;s big cities

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Background  In March 2017, The City of Calgary published Housing in Calgary: An Inventory of Housing Supply, 2015/2016, providing comprehensive information on Calgary’s housing supply, covering the entire spectrum of housing in Calgary, from emergency shelter spaces to market homeownership. Through this report, a more complete picture of the entire housing system in Calgary became visible, enabling a broader understanding of housing supply trends, gaps and implications and specifically, the current state of the affordable housing segment. This report is intended to compliment the 2017 Housing in Calgary report by helping to understand in what ways Calgary’s housing supply and affordability compare to other big cities, the possible reasons why it is different, and what municipal tools are currently being used to impact supply and affordability in Canada’s largest cities. In 2016, Calgary City Council unanimously adopted Foundations for Home: Calgary’s Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy 2016 – 2025, along with an Implementation Plan for the period 2016-2022. This research may inform several initiatives in the Implementation Plan, as well as the prioritization of tactics by Calgary’s Community Housing Affordability Collective (CHAC), and could be used to strategically plan future development in the city. Additionally, this research could be used to inform discussions and advocacy with other orders of government. Key Findings  Housing in Calgary is very different from housing in Canada’s other big cities, with the:  second-highest rate of homeownership at 71%, compared to the average of 59%,  second-lowest proportion of households living in rental housing at 29%, compared to the average of 41%,  lowest proportion of households living in subsidized housing, at 2.9%1 , compared to the average of 5.3%,  second-highest per cent of households living in single-family housing, at 56.3%, compared to the average 36.5%,  lowest per cent of households living in high-rise apartment buildings, at 7%, compared to the average 20%,  lowest supply of purpose-built rental apartments, representing 7% of housing supply, compared to the average 16%, and the  lowest supply of co-operative housing, at 0.3%, compared to the average of 1%.
Categories: Housing

Missed Opportunities: Pregnant and Parenting Youth Experiencing Homelessness in America

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Missed Opportunities: Pregnant and Parenting Youth Experiencing Homelessness in America details the unique challenges faced by young people experiencing homelessness who are pregnant or parenting. Our findings suggest that many of the nearly 4.2 million adolescents and young adults in America who experience some type of homelessness during a 12-month period are pregnant or young parents. Many of those young parents are homeless with their children, and pregnant and parenting youth experiencing homelessness are a particularly vulnerable population. Supporting these young people and their families is critical to ending homelessness among youth in the U.S.
Categories: Housing

Bridging Hospital and Community Care for Homeless Adults with Mental Health Needs: Outcomes of a Brief Interdisciplinary Intervention

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 1:45pm
Abstract Objective: This study examines health and service use outcomes and associated factors among homeless adults participating in a brief interdisciplinary intervention following discharge from hospital. Method: Using a pre-post cohort design, 223 homeless adults with mental health needs were enrolled in the Coordinated Access to Care for the Homeless (CATCH) program, a 4- to 6-month interdisciplinary intervention offering case management, peer support, access to primary psychiatric care, and supplementary community services. Study participants were interviewed at program entry and at 3- and 6-month follow-up visits and assessed for health status, acute care service use, housing outcomes, mental health, substance use, quality of life, and their working alliance with service providers. Linear mixed models and generalized estimating equations were performed to examine outcomes longitudinally. Additional post hoc analyses evaluated differences between CATCH participants and a comparison group of homeless adults experiencing mental illness who received usual services over the same period. Results: In the pre-post analyses, CATCH participants had statistically significant improvements in mental and physical health status and reductions in mental health symptoms, substance misuse, and the number of hospital admissions. The strength of the working alliance between participants and their case manager was associated with reduced health care use and mental health symptoms. Post hoc analyses suggest that CATCH may be associated with statistically significant improvements in mental health symptoms in the study population. Conclusions: A brief interdisciplinary intervention may be a promising approach to improving health outcomes among homeless adults with unmet health needs. Further rigorous research is needed into the effectiveness of brief interventions following discharge from hospital.
Categories: Housing