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Backgrounder - Reaching Home

Reaching Home

Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy is designed to support the goals of the National Housing Strategy, in particular, to support the most vulnerable Canadians in maintaining safe, stable and affordable housing and to reduce chronic homelessness nationally by 50% by 2027–2028.

What is new under Reaching Home

Moving to an Outcomes-Based Approach

Under Reaching Home, the Government will work with communities to develop and deliver data-driven system plans with clear outcomes. The new outcomes-based approach will keep decision making where it should be, at the local level, and will give communities greater flexibility to address local priorities, including homelessness prevention, and programming designed to meet the needs of vulnerable populations (for example, youth, women and children fleeing violence, and veterans).

Communities will be asked to report publicly on community-wide outcomes. Outcomes and indicators are being co-developed with communities, academics, people with lived experience of homelessness and data and performance measurement experts. These outcomes will be used to track the progress being made by communities in their effort to prevent and reduce, including year over year reductions in chronic homelessness. Other outcomes will cover prevention and diversion initiatives as well as the effectiveness of local homelessness systems more broadly.

Expanding the program’s reach

In spring 2019, the Department launched a two-step application process to identify new Reaching Home Designated Communities based on their need for homelessness funding, capacity to effectively manage federal investments, and ability to reduce chronic homelessness by 50% by fiscal year 2027-2028.

The 6 new communities are:

  • Abbotsford, British Columbia
  • Cochrane District (Timmins), Ontario
  • Lambton County, Ontario
  • Cowichan Valley, British Columbia
  • Chilliwack, British Columbia, and
  • Kenora, Ontario.

Addressing Indigenous homelessness

We are committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We are engaging with National Indigenous Organizations and Indigenous service providers and will work together to develop an approach on how to allocate the additional funding. The Government of Canada is working to ensure this funding is delivered in alignment with the unique rights, interests, and circumstances of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation.

Addressing Homelessness in the territories

Reaching Home will create a new Territorial Homelessness stream that will collapse existing regional funding streams into a single envelope. This stream will retain the community-based nature of the program while offering more flexibility in how funding can be used to address the unique homelessness challenges in the territories.

Rural and Remote Homelessness

Addressing homelessness in rural and remote areas continues to be a priority for the Government of Canada. Under Reaching Home, the Rural and Remote Homelessness funding stream will be maintained.

Introducing Coordinated Access

Coordinated Access will help communities shift toward a more coordinated and systems-based approach to addressing homelessness. The goal of Coordinated Access is to help communities ensure fairness, prioritize people most in need of assistance, and match individuals to appropriate housing and services in a more streamlined and coordinated way. This will translate to better outcomes for individuals and for the community as a whole.

Key features introduced under Reaching Home include:

  • Creating a common list of priority clients such as through a By-Name list;
  • Clearly advertised access points so that anyone in the community needing assistance knows where to go for help; and,
  • Using a common approach to assessing peoples’ needs when they are homelessness to better match them with the resources available.

The shift towards Coordinated Access includes the adoption of the necessary information infrastructure and homelessness information management system. This will enable communities to gather more comprehensive data on their local homeless population and transition to the outcomes-based approach.

In communities that do not already have a homelessness management information system in place, the Government will support the adoption of the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS) in order to provide a real-time community-wide picture of the state of homelessness.

Taking a Phased Approach

The Government of Canada will provide communities with three years to implement changes and introduce a Coordinated Access system. Communities will be able to take a phased approach in how they report on the outcomes they have achieved. The Government is committed to supporting communities through this transformation by providing access to training and technical support. Over the coming months, Employment and Social Development will work with communities to ensure that there is no disruption in services during the transition to Reaching Home.

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