Province providing $770,000 for homelessness by-name list support – actual benefits to Oshawa and Durham unknown

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Published May 29, 2023 at 8:57 am

The Ontario government is investing nearly $770,000 to help the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) work connect people experiencing or at risk of homelessness with the local services and supports they need through a real time ‘by-name’ list.

How much of that money filters to Oshawa, where the problem is most acute locally, and to Durham Region, which is responsible for housing issues, is unclear, however.

What is known is the CAEH will use the funding to provide ongoing support to Ontario’s 47 service managers (Durham acts as one of those service managers) – who deliver support services and homelessness prevention programs in local communities – to maintain and improve local by-name lists. These are up-to-date lists of people experiencing homelessness that identify their needs.

The by-name lists help service managers, who are on the ground and understand the extent of homelessness in their communities, to improve access to resources as soon as they are available. This includes supportive housing or rent supplements and health care.

“The by-name list is a life-changing innovation that ensures those experiencing homelessness have access to the supports and services they need,” said Housing and Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness into 2024 to help service managers access the necessary tools, identify bottlenecks in the system, and in turn, better help their communities.”

In March 2021, each service manager was asked to put in place a local by-name list, which is now in use across the province. In April 2022 Ontario launched the Homelessness Prevention Program, which requires service managers to meet updated provincial by-name list requirements.

Clients are only added to by-name lists with their consent. These lists reduce the need for the client to repeat their story or situation and helps the community remain accountable to ending homelessness.

Since 2021, Ontario has provided funding to CAEH, which offers support through coaching, tools and webinars so that service managers can spend more time working with their clients than on paperwork. This funding would extend CAEH’s support for another year.

In Durham Region, as of December 2022, there were 270 people actively experiencing homelessness. Of those, 180 were experiencing chronic homelessness.

Since the by-name list was introduced 218 people in Durham have been housed; of that total 131 were experiencing chronic homelessness.

Nationally the numbers are stark. CAEH said recent estimates that as of late 2022, as many as 263,200 Canadians experience homelessness in a given year, up 12 per cent from the previous estimate.

 

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