An Aboriginal youth assumes traditional peaceful pose in front of a mural at a downtown youth drop-in renovated with HPS funds.
Ottawa's investment in ending homelessness in Toronto
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is a federal program to prevent and reduce homelessness. Since 2000, federal investments have helped Toronto to build new affordable housing, to offer services that support people moving from the streets into their own homes, help homeless people get the ID they need for social assistance and housing, and provide job coaching and pre-employment skills training so that vulnerable people can gain a foothold in the working world.
New agreement in place
The Federal Economic Action Plan 2013 contained $595 million in national HPS funding for 2014 to 2019. The objective is to produce measurable results in the reduction of the size of homeless populations in communities across Canada.
The City of Toronto will continue to receive annual funding of $17,296,389 for the five years of renewed program. This is the same annual allocation it has received for the 2011 to 2014 funding period.
The renewed HPS will fund services based on the "housing first" model. This reflects the positive results of the Mental Health Commission of Canada's At Home/Chez Soi demonstration research project, which confirmed that housing first is more effective in addressing homelessness than traditional approaches. The City of Toronto participated in the local At Home/Chez Soi research project, and has used housing first as a the basis of homelessness services funding since the start of the Streets to Homes program in 2005.
The key elements of the federal government's housing first approach are:
- Rapid housing with available services to help people toward self-sufficiency and community integration;
- 'Housing readiness' not a precondition for housing and services; and
- Client choice in housing and services.
HPS contributions to ending homelessness in Toronto
HPS funding has been an important source of investment in Toronto's housing and homelessness services. Together with funding from the Province of Ontario (under the Consolidated Homelessness Partnership Initiative) and the City of Toronto (under Homeless Initiative Fund), HPS money supports the projects that were approved under the November 2013 Request for Proposals for housing support services. The Housing Stability Service Planning Framework, unanimously approved by City Council in December 2013, is helping to shape the transformation of housing and homelessness services into an integrated, client-centered service system.