Huron County, Ontario – The County of Huron continues to work diligently in addressing the complexities associated with homelessness, poverty and housing instability in Huron County, and implementing both immediate and long-term solutions. In an effort to keep the community informed, actions currently being taken to prevent and address homelessness in Huron County are presented below.
“The County is taking pro-active action on multiple fronts to prevent and address homelessness in our community.” said Huron County Warden Glen McNeil. “This Report to the Community represents a collaborative effort by the County and many community organizations who are committed to working together to protect our most vulnerable citizens. On behalf of County Council, I thank everyone involved in these efforts.”
Cold Weather Emergency Shelter Reopening
In 2020, the County of Huron partnered with Choices for Change, CMHA Thames Valley Addiction & Mental Health Services, and Lakeshore United Church to provide the Out of the Cold: Heart to Home emergency shelter. The shelter reopened on November 15, 2021 for the 2021/2022 season and is managed by staff specially trained in trauma informed care, substance use, and mental health services. It is able to accommodate up to 15 individuals per evening and offers meals and additional wrap around supports.
Enumeration and By Name List
Data collection, including identifying who and how many individuals and families are experiencing homelessness in the community, enables Huron County social service staff and partner organizations to monitor progress and make informed decisions. The 2018 enumeration project indicated that Huron had 100 individuals experiencing homelessness at that time. Enumeration findings in November 2021 counted 169 individuals experiencing homelessness in Huron County. It is important to note that this point-in-time count represents the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness in the region. Read the County’s Everyone Counts report for more details about the 2021 homelessness enumeration and By Name List project.
Stability Team (Huron Heart to Home)
The Stability Team is comprised of staff from County of Huron Social and Property Services, Choices for Change, and the Canadian Mental Health Association, who work directly with individuals in crisis, connecting them to the services and supports they require. These staff are specially trained to assist individuals and families in crisis and/or facing housing instability. Since the re-opening of the Out of the Cold, emergency shelter in 2020, 16 individuals have been successfully, permanently homed with assistance from the Heart to Home Stability Team. This team is continuing their efforts in the 2022 season.
Social and Property Services staff work with the County’s Communication Team to keep the public and stakeholders informed. Be Part of the Solution, an education and awareness campaign was launched in 2021. Being part of the solution means to become informed and advocate for preventing and addressing homelessness in Huron
Social and Property Services staff have taken the lead and are partnering with multiple agencies and not-for-profits to provide coordinated system of care in Huron County. To better coordinate services, a Homelessness Task Force was established in July 2020 and a Huron County Homelessness Coordinated Access System is currently under development.
Homelessness diversion and prevention is our primary goal. The County maintains 415 rent-geared-to-income units and offers a variety of tenant and landlord programs designed to help keep individuals facing housing instability in their current homes.
Social and Property Services staff administer multiple funding programs to assist in the prevention of homelessness including:
- Ontario Works;
- Pathways to Self-Sufficiency;
- Canada Housing Benefit;
- Urgent Relief Funds, in partnership with Perth-Huron United Way;
- and more.
County of Huron staff are working to explore supportive housing requirements and funding opportunities that align with the County’s Long-Term Affordable Housing and Homelessness Plan.
The County is working towards the creation a dispersed, or scattered-site, model of supportive housing. In a ‘scattered-site’ model, single units are dispersed among multiple buildings or properties in multiple communities. This method of supportive housing offers significant integration opportunities within the broader community and allows the individual greater opportunity to remain in their preferred community.
Find out more about what the County is doing to prevent and address homelessness in Huron on the County’s housing webpage on www.huroncounty.ca.
Learn more about how a Housing First model can prevent and address homelessness in Huron: Huron Heart to Home.
The County of Huron asks the community to continue respecting all public health guidelines in response to COVID-19. Stay informed on the COVID-19 situation in Huron County by visiting www.HPPH.ca.