Municipal Tools and Partnerships for Ending Homelessness: The City of Vancouver

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1 Municipal Tools and Partnerships for Ending Homelessness: The City of Vancouver Brenda Prosken General Manager Community Services Department City of Vancouver 1 November 5,

2 City of Vancouver Community Services Department General Manager Community Services Cultural Services Housing Delivery & Operations Building Inspections Licences & Animal Control Social Policy and Projects 2 November 2014

3 Municipal Leadership Strategies to End Homelessness Housing and Homelessness Strategy End Street Homelessness by Increase affordable housing choices for all citizens A home for everyone Addresses all points along the housing continuum Aligned with 3 year capital plan cycle 3

4 Housing and Homelessness Strategy Increase the supply of affordable housing Encourage a housing mix across all neighbourhoods that enhances quality of life Provide strong leadership and support partners to enhance housing stability Ensure capacity to meet needs of street homeless 4 2,900 units 5,000 units 5,000 units 6,000 units 20,000 units

5 Problem: Setback in March 2014 Street Homeless Count 2,000 1,500 1,364 1,576 1,715 1,581 1,602 1, ,798 1, , Unsheltered homeless ,294 1,427 1,296 1,327 1,260 Sheltered homeless

6 Drivers of Homelessness Youth aging out of foster care Family violence and breakdown Lack of adequate treatment for mental health and addictions Prisons and hospitals discharging to street Poverty Lowest cost housing very old and in disrepair (SROs) 6

7 Loss of Shelter, Low Income Housing and Delays 2013 and 2014: Decreased units of publicly funded capacity: Winter response shelters, interim housing, SRO capacity related to BCH renovation project (150 additional SRO rooms documented as vacant) Affordability of private SROs reno-victions, availability for those on welfare continues to declineimpact unclear Capacity coming on streamed delayed for interim housing and new supportive housing 2014 lagging by: over 700 units

8 Getting to 2015 Goal with Key Partners: City of Vancouver Departments BC Housing and other Provincial Ministries: Ministry of Social Services, MCFD, MOHS, Ministry of Justice Vancouver Coastal Health and PHSA Street to Home Foundation Non-profit Housing Associations Faith Groups Private Landlords 8

9 Mayor s Recent Round Table Event on: Severely Addicted and Mentally Ill (SAMI) Assembled leaders from Vancouver Coastal Health, BC Housing, City of Vancouver, academic researchers, non-profit service providers; business professionals, Aboriginal Elders and persons with lived experience Extensive discussion on results of Canadian Mental Health Commission s At Home/Chez Soi project and UBC s SRO Hotel Study Key Conclusions: All areas of Vancouver need to be aware and involved around mental health and addictions issues related to homelessness Health supports and housing choice throughout the City are key 9

10 Getting to 2015 Goal: End Street Homelessness Moving homeless off street requires: 1. Prevent more people becoming homeless 2. Increase pace of incremental supportive housing coming on stream new or interim 3. Sustain affordability and get adequate maintenance of SROs to keep low income residents housed 4. Provide low barrier shelter space 10

11 Range of Municipal Tools

12 Municipal Advocate Tool Grants to support neighbourhood-based responses to homelessness Organize activities and events to create awareness and provide services to the homeless including Art Shows and even a play with professional actors working with homeless 12 Jean Cueta

13 Municipal Enabler Tool To prevent more people becoming homeless we brought the experts and policy makers together to work with staff: Mayors Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions: MOH 120 Day Plan COV Sex Workers Task Force Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Task Force Integrated Enforcement Committee Hoarding Team 13

14 Municipal Land/Infrastructure Tool Increase pace of incremental supportive housing Permanent: 14 site partnership with BC Housing, Housing Providers, Vancouver Coastal Health and Street to Home Foundation providing1500 units Taylor Manor a 56 unit supportive housing project in City building opeing December anonymous donor gave operating funds Interim in 2014: Ramada Hotel on E. Hastings : 56 units continue as interim housing Biltmore Hotel on Kingsway: 109 units as interim housing (5 years) Ramada Hotel on Kingsway: 127 units as interim housing (developmt) Quality Inn on Howe: 157 units as interim housing (2 years) Total Interim Units for 2014:

15 New SRO Investors (600 + rooms renovated) Rents $ $$$ Building Violations None Many New Tenant support needs Low High 15

16 Municipal Regulation/Policy Tools Sustained affordability for very low income residents to stay housed: Target buildings at risk for evictions through strategic work with housing advocates, outreach, and VPD Obtain housing agreements to maintain affordable rents Obtain Provincial Rent Supplements to ensure no evictions or vacancies in SROs due to renovations and/or make scattered sites available for those displaced 16

17 Private SRO (4,000 Units) - Long Term Owners 17 Currently over 500 rooms in vacant or closed buildings

18 Municipal Regulation/Policy Tools Aggressive approach for adequate maintenance of SROs for very low income residents to stay housed: Improve building conditions eg., By-law to expedite City doing the work at owner s expense On-line rental database to show worse offenders Business license hearings for owners doing work without permit eg., conditional license requiring non-profit management for owners not maintaining or properly managing their buildings provide grants to non-profits to make minor building improvements 18

19 Municipal Services Tools Adequate low barrier shelter space to fill housing gap Oppenheimer Park Encampment of 200+ Tents required great partnerships: Parks, Vancouver Fire and Police Services, Corporate Legal and Communications, Housing Outreach, BCH, Vancouver Health and Ministry of Social Development, Non-profits Over 12 weeks, monitored and moved almost 70 homeless into permanent housing and set up capacity to shelter another 100 homeless City is operating a low barrier shelter for first time 19

20 Key Learnings About Municipal Tools You have more tools than you think you do: Be sure to use the tools you ve got to full capacity Ask lots of questions about tools as there s many ways to use them especially involving legal matters Strategic partnerships are key to success Mayor and Council s leadership is paramount in exercising and supporting the use of municipal tools 20

21 THANK YOU! vancouver.ca/housing

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