Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A new framework to preventing homelessness in our communities

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness which is a partnership organization of academics from universities across Canada, services providers, and governments recently released a new framework on preventing homelessness in our country.

The number of people who are experience homelessness is increasing. This is evident in Metro Vancouver and in Langley City. The status quo cannot continue.

Proportion of the un-sheltered and sheltered people who are homeless in Metro Vancouver (2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017). Source: Metro Vancouver.

The new framework is titled “A New Direction: A Framework for Homelessness Prevention”. The framework consists of five broad categories. Not surprisingly, ensuring that people have access to long-term, affordable housing is critical to preventing homelessness as two of the five categories are around housing matters.

  1. Structural Prevention
    • “Structural prevention addresses factors that leave people at risk of homelessness, through legislation, policy, and investment. Its goal is to enhance social inclusion and housing stability.”
  2. System Prevention
    • “Systems prevention looks to respond to institutional and systems failures that contribute to the risk of homelessness. Systems prevention works… to ensure that people have access to the supports they need to prevent homelessness and its re-occurrence.”
  3. Early Intervention
    • “Early intervention consists of prevention policies and initiatives aimed at those at imminent risk of homelessness… [and] for those who have recently experienced homeless. A human rights approach also means we build supports and services for those at risk, rather than assume people will ‘bootstrap’ themselves out of homelessness.”
  4. Eviction Prevention
    • “Evictions prevention includes primary prevention measures such as strengthening landlord/tenant laws and social housing providers adopting a ‘no evictions’ mandate.”
  5. Housing Stability
    • “Housing stability are measures that support people to access and retain housing, in particular for those who have previously experienced homelessness… Housing First is a key model for promoting housing stability. The strategies offered through Housing First involve more than providing housing; housing must be complemented with a range of supports and services to meet individuals and families’ needs and desires.”

The following short video provides an overview of this framework.

A New Direction: A Framework for Homelessness Prevention from The Homeless Hub on Vimeo.

The number of people who are experiencing homelessness is increasing. Fresh approaches such as “A New Direction: A Framework for Homelessness Prevention” provides a framework for turning back the clock on the homelessness crisis in our communities.

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