Our Plan builds on our current responsive approaches to housing and homelessness with an enhanced focus on prevention and support through system integration. It builds on the approaches, partnerships and successes of the $14M Housing and Homelessness Investment Plan when the sector came together and developed a common agenda to implement agreed upon projects.
Our Plan is the culmination of years of extensive consultation and collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders. Our Plan describes our key priorities, our desired outcomes and our proposed high-level actions.
We are committed to creating an integrated housing system that aligns assets, funding, services, supports, policies and programs to respond to our clients’ needs in a holistic manner. The circular depiction of our future system, with the client in the centre, illustrates that while needs may be varied, complex and changing over time, a well-designed, coordinated system will respond more effectively to unique housing and support needs of our vulnerable residents. This is in sharp contrast to past linear depictions of programs and services that suggests clients’ paths are uniform and uni-directional.
We recognize that having an agreed upon framework assists in identifying a collective goal, leveraging and attracting funding, catalyzing action and enabling learning and course correction to ensure success for clients. As a result, we are committed to achieving the Five Conditions of Collective Impact in our Housing and Support System:
- Common Agenda: Developing a common understanding of the needs and shared vision for action and change;
- Shared Measurement: Gathering data and measuring outcomes to ensure we are each accountable;
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities: While partners’ activities may be different, they are coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action;
- Continuous Communication: Consistent and open communication is needed to build trust, to motivate and to assure mutual objectives; and
- Backbone Support: An entity with skilled staff that serves as the backbone of the initiative and that coordinates the participating organizations and agencies.
PRIORITIES OF OUR TEN YEAR PLAN
Our Plan is a commitment to meet the most pressing housing needs of our residents by focusing on three key priorities:
- Ensuring everyone has a home;
- Ensuring people get the support they need; and
- Working together.
Priority 1: Ensuring Everyone Has a Home
Our city continues to see an increase in the number of people living in poverty who face high rental costs due to the lack of affordable housing options. Without a place to call home, day-to-day activities, such as finding and keeping a job, become a challenge. This Plan commits to increasing affordable housing options to address the current low supply and the high demand that exists in our city.
Table 1: Everyone Has A Home
|What we want
||What we will do
- A range of housing options meets demand through:
- housing subsidies
- Affordable housing is in a good state of repair and well - managed.
- 130 new units approved in 2013 - 2015 through the Investing in Affordable Housing (IAH) Program
- 2015-2019 IAH to be determined.
- Repairs/modifications through the Ontario Renovates Program to 200 homes for low income residents by Q4 2015.
- Complete Building Condition Assessments on all social housing by Q1, 2014.
- Develop a plan for repairs by Q4, 2014.
- Together, we will maintain, build, acquire or redevelop safe, accessible and affordable homes to meet people’s needs and to offer them choice in mixed income communities. Households will be close to transportation, work and stores, which will help residents lead stable, independent lives.
- The City will use the 2012-2014 IAH and City capital funding to act on the approved priorities, providing larger units for families and supportive housing for singles, both with barrier free units. It will establish priorities for the new IAH and similar funds based on local needs and on consultations with stakeholders.
- We will use innovative ways to leverage assets, including buildings, land, reserves, capital grants and incentives, to increase, repair and redevelop the housing stock. Possible approaches include re-financing and asset rationalization which may result in the selling of assets and redevelopment to provide more housing options for the community.
- The City will consider more housing subsidies and grant programs, such as housing allowances, rent supplements and affordable home ownership, as funding becomes available.
- We will seek adequate and sustained funding from all levels of government for publicly funded assets and infrastructure. We will also seek funds for additional housing subsidies.
- We will work with lenders, developers, other private sector partners and government to shape policies and offer incentives to increase the supply of affordable housing in our city.
- We will use green sustainable building and repair solutions when they reduce our environmental impact and/or save money, while meeting resident needs.
- The City and social housing providers will use lifecycle data to:
- plan for repairs
- prioritize them on a system-wide basis
- inform planning and decision-making about redevelopment and selling assets
- We will ensure that social housing is managed in a fair, effective and equitable way by educating housing providers about the social housing standards and by promoting best practices.
Priority 2: People Get the Support they Need
Housing alone is sometimes not enough. Ensuring people get the support they need is key to securing and retaining housing for many of our residents. Following a housing first approach, we recognize that a broad spectrum of housing and support options are needed to help demographic populations such as women and children fleeing abuse, Aboriginals and Inuit people, seniors, youth, people leaving health and correctional facilities to break the cycle of chronic and episodic homelessness. Supports are also an integral part of the housing system which helps people with physical and mental health needs and/or cognitive and physical disabilities who require specialized care.
Table 2: People Get The Support They Need
What we want
What we will do
- People receive the right types of services and support to keep their homes and to prevent homelessness.
- People who become homeless are safe and receive adequate temporary shelter and supports to find housing.
- There is no chronic homelessness.
- Achieve 40% savings in the funding to emergency shelters by 2024.
- Savings are reinvested into prevention.
- 100 long stay clients are transitioned to housing with supports by Q4, 2015.
- Emergency shelter stays are 30 days or less by 2024.
- Together, we will provide supports in transitional or permanent housing, on-site, in the community or by a mobile team in order to help people lead healthy, stable lives. Support may be short to long-term and low to high intensity. It may include, but not be limited to, crisis response, financial support, addiction and mental health services, case management, counseling, employment support, life skills coaching and general health supports.
- The City will offer financial support to help low income households to pay for unpaid rent or utilities.
- We will reinvest housing savings into the housing system consistent with this plan’s priorities.
- We will build upon existing services to create a flexible and accessible support system based on best practices, giving people the support they need to find and retain housing.
- We will make operating funds available for supportive housing built or acquired under the Investing in Affordable Housing or other programs.
- The City will work with community agencies to develop the information, tools and training they need to provide support to residents.
- We will offer information and resources to landlords to help them meet residents’ support needs, including people living with complex needs.
- We will provide the types of services people need, including street and community outreach.
- We will improve shelters by addressing issues such as building conditions and overflow accommodations.
- We will use a housing first approach, working with people to find homes and the right supports.
- The City will offer financial support to help people who are homeless move into homes, such as first and last month’s rent, a moving allowance and starter kits.
- We will end chronic homelessness by responding to the factors that increase the risk of long-term homelessness. These factors are often persistent, complex and unique to the individual. We will stabilize their situations and provide supportive environments, beginning with the people who have the greatest needs.
- We will plan proactively to support people who are re-entering or transitioning into the community. This means establishing a city-wide coordinated response approach; planning ahead for each individual’s specific needs.
Priority 3: Working Together
The City works with over 130 organizations to provide housing and support services to residents. The system needs to be integrated and easy to access. A system-level shift from responding to homelessness to preventing it is the only way to end chronic homelessness. Improved housing conditions are best achieved through collaborative partnerships, therefore, a commitment by stakeholders to work together on a detailed work plan is imperative to achieving the priorities in this plan. A common vision with agreed-upon actions and targets that are monitored for course correction, will help to ensure outcomes are met. While people’s lives can be complex, navigating the system should not. We will work with all levels of government and community stakeholders to address our local challenges, to advocate for adequate and sustained funding, and to support the creation of a National Housing Strategy.
Table 3: We Work Together
What we want
What we will do
- Ottawa has an integrated housing system, responsive to the housing and support needs of residents.
- Improved service planning and coordination and sustained funding from all levels of government meet people’s needs.
- Communication Plan developed by Q2, 2014.
- Interdepartmental committee is operational by Q2, 2014.
- Advocacy Plan is developed by Q3, 2014.
- The City will lead its partners to implement an integrated housing system which develops thriving communities where people want to live. The City and its housing partners will be accountable for funding and services that are coordinated, effective and responsive to local needs.
- We will make sure that people know what services and supports exist to help them, and how to use them. Access will be simple and clear. We will use technology to ensure transparency, choice and easy access.
- We will develop outcome-based measures that will be used to evaluate and develop policies, programs and services that respond to residents’ existing and future needs.
- We will analyze research, trends, local needs and promising practices that can help us improve all areas of the housing system.
- The City will continue to lead the Housing System Working Group* (HSWG) to develop an implementation work plan that will evolve with the local needs.
- The HSWG will develop a communications strategy to share information, seek feedback and act on input from residents, including people with lived experience.
- Led by the Housing Services Branch, the City will create an Interdepartmental City Committee that will support and/or implement related actions in the work plan. This committee will ensure that the Plan’s goals are met and are reflected in current and future plans including the Official Plan, Infrastructure Master Plan, Sustainability and Resilience Plan, Community Design Plans and the Transportation Master Plan. Representation will include but will not be limited to: Planning, Public Health, Real Estate Services, Legal, Social Services.
- We will support the development of a National Housing Strategy that commits to ensuring that housing is recognized as a human right.
- We will participate in networks, coalitions and workgroups to further the goals of the plan.
- We will advocate for increased and sustained funding from all levels of government.
- We will reinvest savings within the housing system consistent with this plan’s priorities.
We includes the City, the private sector, non-profit sector and the community working together to ensure a full range of housing, supports and related services are available to people who need them.
 Housing System is the full range of housing, supports and related services available. The system includes all levels of government and the private and not-profit sectors.