20,000 Homes Campaign

On any given night in Canada, over 35,000 Canadians are homeless. Throughout the year, over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness. Unfortunately, accurate data on homelessness in Peel is not yet available although we know that it exists and there is a need for more comprehensive housing supports across the Region.

This problem needs to be tackled if we want to see improvement. To this end Peel Region is currently taking part in the 20,000 Homes Campaign. The campaign is based on the 100,000 Homes Campaign that took place in the US. The goal is to house 20,000 people in Canada by 2018. The 20,000 Homes Campaign aims to permanently house the most vulnerable individuals. For the purposes of the campaign, ‘most vulnerable’ refers to people who are experiencing homelessness, have complex needs, and are at risk of death from homelessness.

Sharon Douglas, Director of Community Investment at United Way of Peel Region is leading this campaign in partnership with: the Region of Peel, Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee, Our Place Peel, Supportive Housing in Peel (SHIP), St. Leonard’s Place Peel, and the Salvation Army. These groups are currently working together to implement a Registry Week in Peel in June 2016.

The Registry Week consists of volunteers going out onto the street and doing a “count” of all the individuals who are homeless in Peel. They will conduct the ‘VI-SPDAT’ survey with each person to identify what each individual’s unique needs are. The survey also determines the level of need: whether the person is “chronically homeless” (homeless for a year or more), “episodically homeless” (moves in and out of homelessness), if they have mental health concerns, or any other specific needs or barriers to services. This will help identify the individuals that are the most vulnerable, and triage people into housing for a more efficient housing system- ensuring those who require more support receive what they need. This is especially important within a housing system with such limited resources. Hamilton, Ottawa and Waterloo Region have already conducted Registry weeks.

The Peel Registry Week will take place from Saturday, June 4th to Friday June 10th. During the first 4 days (Saturday to Wednesday) the VI-SPDAT survey will be implemented across Peel Region, and on Friday June 10th there will be a Community Call to Action event where the results of the Registry Week are revealed. If you are interested in volunteering to conduct the surveys, to input data, or participate in the Community Call to Action event please contact Jen Turner at jturner@unitedwaypeel.org or by phone at (905) 602 3646 for more information.

If you are homeless and interested in participating in the survey, please connect with any housing or homelessness agency in Peel or with Jen Turner at the contact information above. Closer to the Registry Week we will release more specific information including times and locations where we will be conducting the survey. We plan to give out a small gift to thank everyone for their contribution so please consider participating.