York Regional Council endorses reforms to Emergency Shelter and Homelessness Prevention Services
The Regional Municipality of York is committed to preventing homelessness and to helping people retain housing or find a place to live as quickly as possible if they become homeless. York Regional Council today endorsed a guiding vision focused on promoting housing stability across the Region.
“Housing stability is an integrated client-centred approach that reduces housing risk,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “This vision aligns with York Region’s goal to create healthy and resilient communities by helping residents access basic needs such as safe, affordable and suitable housing.”
York Region’s growth and the increase in residents living on lower incomes has led to more people accessing homelessness services. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of users (adults and children) accessing York Region emergency shelters grew by 70 per cent.
“This vision aims to reduce pressures on emergency or crisis supports that can be expensive and less effective in the long-run,” said City of Markham Deputy Mayor Jack Heath, Chair of York Region’s Community and Health Services Committee. “This cost-effective approach is critical as York Region’s population and risk of homelessness continues to grow.”
York Regional Council also approved operational reforms supporting this approach. They will be phased in over the next 18 months and include:
• Developing services to help residents create a plan and access supports to remain in their homes or obtain a home, including housing, training, employment, mental health and addiction services
• Exploring the development of a central access point for services and supports so residents can easily contact and receive assistance prior to and during a crisis
• Implementing a centralized database system in all of York Region’s emergency shelters to assess who requires services, what services are needed and where to focus resources
These reforms were developed based on consultations with shelter operators and stakeholders and reflect key findings from York Region’s 2012 homelessness services review.
The vision and operational reforms align with provincial reforms and will inform the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan being presented to Regional Council in 2013.
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Media Contact: Lindsey Nigra, Corporate Communications, The Regional Municipality of York
905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1209 Cell: 905-251-6412 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Regional Municipality of York provides services to 1.1 million residents and 41,000 businesses that employ 516,000 people