Rural Homeless Enumeration 2018

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In April of 2018, Bruce County and Grey County each conducted a homelessness enumeration using a Period Prevalence Count (PPC) methodology in their respective counties.

The problem of homelessness is most often associated with urban communities, however, a growing body of research over the past 15 years has shown that the problem is also prevalent in rural Canada. The size and the dynamics of the problem in these rural areas is still largely unknown, in part because of unique problems that
rural areas pose for data collection. Rural areas often have fewer services geared towards people experiencing homelessness and the services that are available often serve a large geographical region.

A recent study conducted in rural and northern Ontario found that only 32 percent of service providers in these regions are able to keep ongoing records of their at-risk and homeless populations. This problem is compounded by the fact that rural areas tend to have smaller populations spread out over relatively large geographic regions, making it more difficult to locate those who sleep rough or stay in unsafe dwellings.

The homelessness enumeration was the first of its kind to be conducted in Bruce County and Grey County – the result of a mandate set by the provincial government in 2016 with the passage of the Promoting Affordable Housing Act and the commitment to end chronic homelessness by 2025.

Beginning in 2018, all Ontario municipalities are required to conduct a homeless enumeration every two years with the goals of:

  • Improving community awareness and understanding of homelessness;
  • Helping to monitor and assess developing trends over time;
  • Providing a method through which to measure progress; and
  • Strengthening efforts to end homelessness.

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force Housing Action Group identified organizations across the two counties that work with people experiencing homelessness as hub sites where enumerators would be located to conduct surveys. Front line social service workers were provided enumeration training on the survey tool, empathy training and information on services/programs available for people experiencing homelessness.

Results

Bruce County: over the course of the enumeration week, a total of 17 individuals experiencing homelessness were counted in Bruce County. Eleven of them completed questionnaires.  Read more in the full report: 2018 Homeless Enumeration – Bruce County.

Grey County: over the course of the week 33 individuals identified as experiencing homelessness and 29 completed the survey.  Read more in the full report to council.

Next Steps

The results are large enough to demonstrate homelessness exists in Grey County and Bruce County. Although the results presented are not generalizable to both counties’ population, they are sufficient to demonstrate that homelessness is a socioeconomic problem in Bruce County and Grey County.  The results suggests avenues for further study, particularly in regards to youth and seniors’ homelessness.

These results will be used in the consultation sessions for the update to Bruce County’s Long-Term Housing Strategy and Grey County’s 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan.

 

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Defining Adequate Housing

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Housing is a basic need and is internationally recognized as a human right. Housing forms the foundation for our homes, neighbourhoods and communities.

Housing provides shelter, security, a space in which family life can happen and where children grow up and thrive. Yet, for many people, their housing jeopardizes their health and well-being.

The unfit conditions in housing, disproportionately experienced by people living in low income or other marginalizing circumstances negatively affect people’s physical and mental health. Multiple chronic diseases and acute effects, including asthma, respiratory conditions, allergies, chemical sensitivities, as well as cardiovascular disease and its numerous risk factors can be exacerbated or, in some cases caused, by poverty, stress, and living in unhealthy conditions.

Our Community Voices  are featured in a recent series of Rentsafe videos:

Defining Adequate 

My Voice is Power

Stigma in the System

Towards Healthy Homes for All: RentSafe Summary and Recommendations April 2018, summarizes the research over the past 3 years and offers recommendations for action to improve intersectoral action and capacity to ensure healthy housing conditions

 

Media release: Minimum Wage Advisory Panel recommendations provide Premier Kathleen Wynne with opportunity to advance vision for decent work

January 27, 2014

Toronto—The much-anticipated recommendations of the Minimum Wage advisory panel were made public today, revealing a number of modest proposals for regularizing future increases in the minimum wage. The Panel Chair decided that recommending the minimum wage level would be outside the Panel’s scope.

“By recommending the minimum wage should increase annually in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, the Advisory Panel has adopted one of three key demands put forward by the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage,” said Deena Ladd, Coordinator of the Workers Action Centre. “This kind of indexation would be a real step forward. But we must also insist that Ontario’s minimum wage generate enough income so that a full-time worker is not living in poverty. As it stands, a full-time minimum wage earner falls 25% below the poverty line, and we need much more than a cost-of-living increase to address his shortfall.”

According to the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage, $14 an hour will bring a worker 10% above the Low Income Measure – the standard adopted by the provincial government in its poverty reduction strategy.

“Just last year, in responding to a study on precarious employment authored by the United Way and McMaster University, Premier Kathleen Wynne made a commitment to Ontario workers to develop a decent work agenda,” said Ladd. “Today, the Premier has a real opportunity to make good on that promise by ensuring that a full-time job is pathway out of poverty – not a poverty trap.”

The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage is calling for a minimum wage of $14 an hour, increased annually by the CPI. The Campaign estimates that a $14 minimum wage would inject at least $5 billion annually into Ontario’s economy, stimulating consumer demand, generating economic activity and creating jobs.