Homelessness Collective Impact Committee

The Homelessness Collective Impact Committee (HCIC) was formed in late 2021. The main objective of the group is to design, develop and adapt a system of care to address homelessness in Kingston (and area) with a people-centric and solution-focused approach, securing insight from service-providers and people with living and lived experience.

This committee acknowledges the increasing complexity and numbers of people with substance use, mental health and resulting behaviour challenges who need stabilization and support to help them along their path to being housed.

Background

The issue of homelessness is a complex one that requires different sectors of a community to come together to find local solutions – funders, agencies, community organizations or groups – with the voice of people with lived experience informing and guiding strategy and decisions. 

In Kingston, there are just over 200 people who are not permanently housed. This number does not include the hidden homeless – people who may be living rough, couch-surfing or accessing other inadequate housing options. 

Based on a recent review of the system, it appears that the shelter system is working – as best as can be expected with reduced capacity and other challenges due to the pandemic.  Where there is a gap is with people who are often classified as ‘hard-to-serve’.

Many people cycle in and out of homelessness, often due to substance use, mental illness, behavioural issues.  At this time the Integrated Care Hub provides spaces during the day, services, food, a consumption site. At night there is space for 45-50 people to drop in and stay warm or cool, depending on the weather.  Addictions & Mental Health services, nursing services and Street Outreach visit this space; however there is limited ability for stabilization, secure and safe spaces for every individual, or a chance to eventually access shelter and/or housing.

Goals of the Homelessness Collective Impact Committee (HCIC)

  • To design and develop a system for people who are experiencing chronic homelessness
  • To support and provide resources to stabilize people who are in extremely vulnerable
  • To monitor progress, develop and monitor evaluation framework
  • To address the current crisis as a result of:
    • Need for shelter beds
    • Plans for the winter months for people who are street-involved or living rough
    • Staffing issues as a side-consequence of the pandemic
  • To develop longer term solutions for those who are homeless or living rough

The HCIC has set an 18-month term with 6-8 meetings a year or more as required with the following responsibilities:

  • Review progress, updates and reports related to the implementation of the City’s plan on homelessness, United Way’s Youth Homelessness strategy
  • Review input from people with lived experience of homelessness or who are currently homeless
  • Develop strategies

Membership

Co-chairs: Susan Stewart (KFL&A Public Health), Bhavana Varma (United Way KFL&A). Coordination and administrative support for the HCIC is provided through United Way KFLA.

 All levels of government:

  • Federal: Service Canada
  • Province of Ontario: Ministry of Health/LHIN
  • Service Manager, City of Kingston
  • Mayor, City of Kingston
  • MPP office
  • MP office

Healthcare

  • Ontario Health
  • FLA Ontario Health Team
  • KFL&A Public Health
  • KHSC
  • Providence Care
  • KCHC
  • AMHS-KFLA

Service Providers

  • Home Base Housing (Street Outreach, shelters)
  • Integrated Care Hub
  • Dawn House
  • Kingston Youth Shelter
  • Salvation Army (Patrick Street Location/Harbour Lights)
  • Kingston Police
  • Downtown Business Improvement Association – board member and staff
  • KFL&A Public Library

Linkage Groups:

  • Landlords
  • Private sector
  • Lived experience
  • Healthcare professionals (psychiatrists, medical doctors)
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