The Community Agency Delivery and Housing First Programmes

The Community Agency Delivery and Housing First Programmes

In early 2015, the County in collaboration with the Welcome In Drop-In Centre, launched a Housing First Pilot (HF Pilot), providing immediate access to permanent housing and wrap-around supports to 20 individuals experiencing complex issues as a barrier to housing. The pilot is funded by the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative, and has allowed the Welcome In Drop-In Centre to hire a dedicated Housing First worker. During the same period, the County received funding from the Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario Program (2014 Extension), enabling the intentional development of a Housing First-focused rent support programme that would be delivered by key agency partners in the community, including the Community Resource Centre, East Wellington Community Services, Wyndham House, and the Welcome In Drop-In Centre. The Community Agency Delivery (CAD) rent support programme, in collaboration with the HF pilot, has allowed for the integration of community based wrap-around supports and ongoing rent support for individuals in an effort to help them find and maintain safe and affordable housing. 

Prior to their involvement in the HF Pilot, participants were actively experiencing homelessness and had been accessing emergency systems (e.g. health/mental health, justice, shelter) on a regular basis. On average, HF Pilot participants stayed in an emergency shelter 64 nights in 2014. Based on extensive evaluation, we know that the Housing First model works as it significantly improves the quality of life for those supported and it is more cost-effective than ongoing emergency responses. Not surprisingly, the HF Pilot and CAD programme are having an impact for individuals in our community like Ken, whose story we are glad to share below.

 By the time he reached his early 30's, Ken had already spent 10 years of his life homeless. For decades Ken has struggled with addiction issues and a history of incarceration, making it difficult for him to secure and maintain housing. In 2014, Ken spent a total of 202 nights in emergency shelter and 37 days in residential treatment for his addiction. Since Ken's enrolment in the HF Pilot, his life has changed significantly. In March with the support of the Housing First worker, Ken was able to find his own apartment and access a rent supplement through the CAD programme to make it affordable. For the first time since he was 15 years old, Ken has a stable and safe place to call home. Through a circle of care model, Ken is supported by an integrated group of community services to maintain his housing and work through his addictions issues. The Housing First worker will continue to support and work with Ken and help him on his journey to a more stable and healthy future. While Ken's journey is only just beginning, his story illustrates the power that the Housing First programme can have in improving outcomes and transforming the lives of those involved.

© 2018 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, F 519.837.1909