Our work plan framework consists of three major strategies with key objectives that encompass clearly defined activities.
Factors that Impact Housing and Homelessness
I. Housing Supply
To maintain & increase existing and future housing supply through improving affordability, maintenance and diversification. Chatham-Kent Housing & Homelessness Plan Ways to Maintain & Increase Housing Supply:
- Ontario Renovates assisted 14 homeowners with $303,017 in program funding for repairs and one homeowner with $4,383 to improve accessibility, allowing low-income homeowners to remain in their affordable homes.
- Social Infrastructure Fund Year 1 – Ontario Renovates for Seniors assisted two senior households with $50,000 in program funding to repair and/or improve accessibility, allowing low-income senior homeowners to remain in their affordable homes.
- CK Housing Services reviewed historical and current Housing Provider vacancy data and determined that there is no social housing stock not being used or not in continuous demand.
- In 2018-2019, Housing Services will look at having municipal policy recommendations drafted for council consideration with respect to encouraging affordable housing development.
- In 2017, Chatham-Kent continued to participate in the Investment in Affordable Housing- Extension Program (IAH-E) which includes Home Ownership and Housing Allowance components.
Investment in Affordable Housing Extension Program Initiatives in Chatham-Kent
Chatham-Kent assisted 16 households in purchasing affordable homes, with a total of $109,500 in program funding. This included $7,300 in funding to assist the Habitat for Humanity homebuyer of the Blenheim new build. An additional 10 households were assisted using $72,908 from the CK Home Ownership Revolving Loan Fund.
Council approved two major amendments to the Zoning By-law
- The first was Housing and Rooming Rentals, providing a streamlined approach to rental dwelling units from a zoning perspective.
- The second was a Comprehensive Amendment that made a number of additional changes including permitting Secondary Dwellings (also known as secondary suites, basement apartments, accessory apartments, granny flats, in-law apartments, or nanny suites). These are now permitted as-of-right, subject to certain regulations.
Council adopted the final 2017 Asset Management Plan (AMP)
- The corporate AMP includes social housing amongst all other municipal assets. Council adopted the recommendation to approve a 1% tax equivalent for lifecycle infrastructure funding, which council implemented in the 2018 budget approvals.
II. Housing Stability
To promote housing stability by expanding access to emergency, transitional and financial supports within a Housing First Framework.
- Expand Access and Availability to Emergency and Transitional Housing within a Housing First Framework
- Implemented new and improved community outreach services and supports through Chatham-Kent Shelter Solutions to improve rapid rehousing efforts.
- Increased intensive assistance and community outreach services to Homeless Response Line users to enable them to be rapidly rehoused and find permanent housing.
- Completed implementation and planning efforts for April 2018 enumeration activities.
Implement Financial Supports to Promote Housing Security
- Implemented 36 new Short-Term Housing Allowances to assist people experiencing temporary financial difficulties in maintaining shelter security. This included RGI waitlisted households expecting to be housed in the near future.
- 1281 individuals and families received financial help through CK Shelter Solutions to stabilize and secure housing, with a total cost of $596,220.
- Issued $356,788 to 23 community agencies to aid in the development and delivery of supportive housing programming.
- Increased case-management support within CK Shelter Solutions to three full time Case Managers to increase capacity to assist with financial housing stability assistance and rapid re-housing provision.
- Successfully applied for, and was awarded, Homes for Good Provincial program funding for a new Youth Intensive Case Management Supportive Housing program.
Promote Housing Stability
- Implemented a Housing First Intensive Case Management program for chronically and episodic homeless individuals, including 22 rent supplements.
- Implemented a Housing First Homes 4 Youth (Homes for Good) Intensive Case Management Supportive Housing program, including 48 Portable Housing Benefits.
- Assisted 20 households flee domestic violence and become safely housed though the continued delivery of the Survivors of Domestic Violence Portable Housing Benefit pilot program.
- Increased Homemakers Program enrollment by over 50% to enable people requiring low-level assistance with activities of daily living to remain in their home.
- Progressively increased case-management support within the CK Shelter Solutions program to include rapid rehousing support.
- Expanded the Community Relations Worker program to three full time staff to increase community based mid-acuity supports to low-income and seniors throughout Chatham-Kent.
CK Renovates Program
CK Renovates is a municipally funded homeless prevention program that helps low-income homeowners with urgent household repairs. This program keeps people securely and affordably housed in their own homes and communities. In 2017, 34 households were helped with $394,789 in necessary home repairs.
III. Advocacy, Partnerships, and Service Coordination
To promote, advocate, and create awareness of housing needs while strengthening partnerships and service coordination
Promote and Foster Tenant and Landlord Relationships
- Expanded efforts to promote and foster landlord positive and tenant relationships through CK Shelter Solutions staff, Rapid Re-Housing Case Managers, community presentations and the Community Relations Worker program.
- Created and implemented a Housing Placement Case Manager position to be a liaison with landlords, recruit landlord participation in Supportive Housing programs, provide ongoing tenant and landlord homeless prevention and advocacy support.
- Provided program and service information to Chatham-Kent Landlord Association members.
- Tenant Support-General Support and Priority Populations
- Realigned and expanded the Community Relations Worker program to include all tenants living in all communities of Chatham-Kent including all Chatham-Kent social housing providers.
- Expanded the services of Case Managers in public housing to increase effectiveness and efficiency of assisting tenants across the Municipality in public housing with tenant relations, community referrals, advocacy and assistance in navigating systems.
- In 2017 Chatham-Kent Housing Services hosted 16 town hall meetings across the Municipality engaging tenants and conducting tenant satisfaction surveys. Research has indicated that physical, mental health and wellbeing is positively impacted by being socially connected. Tenant Engagement supports our municipal CK Plan 2035 with a focus on a healthy and safe community. Feedback provided by tenants resulted in four common themes: safety, accessibility, communication and maintenance of their units.
- Increased Housing First case management supports and education throughout homelessness and housing programming.
- Increased service integration between housing stability staff with other municipal divisions and created new service coordination plans with Fire and Library Services.
- Expanded partnership with the Chatham-Kent Public Libraries to create Community Navigator positions to provide tenant education, referrals and support services to low-income households that use or attend library services and locations throughout Chatham-Kent.
Community Awareness and Promotion
- Completed 23 educational and information presentations to municipal staff, community agencies and stakeholders.
- Led the coordination of the Southwest Community Relations Worker Roundtable.
- Presented at the National Homelessness Individuals and Families System Forum and the National Conference on Ending Homelessness on programs, challenges and implementation experiences in Chatham-Kent.
- Shared and presented information on housing and homelessness issues to the Chatham-Kent Prosperity Roundtable, Community Leadership Cabinet, Public Health Board, Municipal Council, Housing Advisory Group of private non-profit, and non-profit co-operative housing providers.
- TV Cogeco and YourTV interviews completed and aired advocating the need for more affordable housing and the various housing programs delivered by Chatham-Kent.
- Implemented a validated common assessment and triage tool across 5 key service partners.
- The Homelessness Individuals and Families System, data tracking and data assessment tool was successfully implemented in Chatham-Kent. It's an open data homelessness serving system utilized by Community Homeless Prevention funded service agencies.
- Updated participation in cross-sectoral service agreements with Indigenous and Non- Indigenous Violence Against Women service partners.
- Municipal staff actively participate in knowledge transfer and exchange activities with other Service Managers, the provincial ministries with funding oversight of housing and homelessness programs, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, as well as related municipal associations.
- Council established the 2017 municipal base budget of $500,000 and added another $300,000 in 2018 (total of $800,000) for developing new affordable housing.
- Secured $200,000 in municipal funding (2018 budget) and approval for a Portable Housing Benefit Program to assist approximately 45 low to mid acuity households.
- Housing stability staff attended weekly meal programs to provide service connections and referrals to attendees experiencing shelter insecurity or homelessness.
- Attended community forums and advocated for changes and updates to rooming house and boarder municipal by-laws.
- Participated in promotion and awareness video productions and community discussion forums.
- Sought and obtained continued Council approval of the CK Renovates home repair program for 2017 and 2018 at $300,000 per year.
- Council Resolution to support municipal efforts to increase the amount of affordable housing available in the community and to eliminate chronic homelessness.