10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan Review - Submitted for Provincial Approval

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The consultation process for the review of the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan is now closed.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this process and offered thoughtful and thought-provoking feedback.

The updated Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys Housing and Homelessness Plan (2020-2024) will be released to the public once approved by Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and City of Stratford Council.

The consultation process for the review of the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan is now closed.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this process and offered thoughtful and thought-provoking feedback.

The updated Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys Housing and Homelessness Plan (2020-2024) will be released to the public once approved by Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and City of Stratford Council.

  • Our Vision

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    8 months ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    A vision statement is a roadmap. For the 10-Year Housing & Homelessness Plan for Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys, the vision statement provides guidance on the direction local communities want to take in relation to housing stability and homelessness response. The original vision of the 10-Year Plan was:

    All people will have access to housing that is safe and suitable for their needs, and will have supports that enable them to remain stable in their homes. People may become homeless, or face the possibility of losing their homes, but supports will be in place to help them remain in their housing or to locate a permanent alternative as quickly as possible, in the community of their choice.

    Consultation feedback showed that this original vision needed to be more concise and clear in order to better reflect the values and goals of Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys. The options for the revised vision statement are as follows:

    Have your say – click here to choose which vision statement you prefer.



  • Recommended Strategic Priorities

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    8 months ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Based on the consultation feedback, four (4) strategic priorities are being recommended for the updated Plan:

    1. Ending Homelessness
    2. Creating Attainable Housing Options
    3. Sustaining Community Housing
    4. Addressing a Diversity of Needs


    Recommendations and activities within these strategies will be implemented by:

    What do you think of this framework? Give us your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.



  • Ending Homelessness

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    8 months ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    What is homelessness?

    We know that there are individuals in our communities who are experiencing homelessness, meaning they are without a permanent home of their own. We also know that individuals experience homelessness in different ways. They may be:

    • Unsheltered - sleeping outdoors, in makeshift shelters or vehicles
    • Emergency Sheltered - accessing Emergency Housing through the City of Stratford Social Services Department or staying at Stratford/Perth Shelterlink
    • Provisionally Accommodated - living temporarily with others (‘couch surfing’); living in transitional housing; or staying in a provincial institution (hospital or jail) and have no place to go once released

    Homelessness is not a character flaw, but rather a situation an individual finds themselves in.

    What causes homelessness?

    Homelessness is not a choice that people make. It is usually the result of the impact of a number of factors, not just a single cause or event. These can include:
    • Lack of adequate income
    • Lack of access to affordable housing
    • Difficult transitions from other systems of care (e.g. child welfare, health care, corrections facilities)
    • Discrimination
    • Traumatic personal events (e.g. relationship breakdown, abuse, house fire)

    How many people are experiencing homelessness locally?

    According to our most recent homeless enumeration, 101 individuals were experiencing homelessness in Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys. This is based on 79 respondents who completed a survey between May 15th and 18th, 2018. Because a homeless enumeration provides a snapshot of homelessness over a specific period of time, the actual number of individuals experiencing homelessness in our communities is higher.

    The results of the enumeration showed that of the 79 survey respondents:

    How can we move from managing homelessness to ending it?

    Historically, Canada's response to homelessness has focused on emergency services in the forms of soup kitchens and shelters. These services are very important in helping meet people’s immediate needs but they have not resulted in an end to homelessness. To end homelessness, we need to change the way we provide services and use our resources.

    Simply put, the only known 'cure' for homelessness is housing.

    Is building a homeless shelter locally the answer?

    While there is not a homeless shelter (in the traditional sense) in Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys, the City of Stratford Social Services Department does provide short-term emergency accommodations for those who need it. This is a necessary service in our communities' response to homelessness. However, to end homelessness, we need to provide people with quick access to quality, safe, permanent, affordable, and supported housing of their choice.

    Homeless shelters are expensive to build and to run. We have a limited amount of money related to homelessness response locally. Using that money to build a shelter would mean we don't have money for programs and services that offer housing and provide access to supports that will enable individuals to exit homelessness.

    And remember, a homeless shelter is not housing. Individuals who are staying in a homeless shelter are still experiencing homelessness.

    What's next?

    Homelessness is a complex problem that sometimes feels like putting together a difficult puzzle. Ending it requires us to use our local resources for activities and programs that have the most impact on those who are experiencing homelessness. It also means a change in how we deliver services and supports.





  • Affordable Housing

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    8 months ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    What is affordable housing?

    We know that there is a need for affordable rental housing in Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys. Housing is considered ‘affordable’ if its cost does not exceed 30% of a household’s gross annual income.

    According to the 2016 Census over 1/3 of renter households (36%) in our communities paid 30% or more of their income on housing.

    Is affordable housing the same as social housing?

    Affordable housing and social housing are not the same thing. Social housing is one type affordable housing. Social housing is permanent rental housing financed or subsidized at least partly with government support (e.g. rent-geared-to-income or RGI). Eligibility for social housing is based on income and provides housing for low-income households.

    The City of Stratford Social Services Department, through the Perth and Stratford Housing Corporation (PSHC), owns and operates 664 social housing units throughout Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys. The Social Services Department also oversees and provides support to a number of other social housing providers, including non-profits and housing co-operatives.

    Social housing alone does not provide enough affordable housing options in our communities.

    How much does housing cost locally?

    The majority of renters in Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys live in the private market. Based on our communities’ average market rental prices, low-income households are challenged to find housing that they can afford.

    Is affordable housing available in our communities?

    Even when households can afford rent, the availability of housing may be limited. Vacancy rates in our communities have decreased, making it more difficult for residents to find places to live.

    How can we create more affordable housing options?

    As rental costs go up and the availability of housing goes down, our residents still need housing that is safe and suitable. For this to happen, we may need to do things differently like making it easier for developers to build affordable housing, working with new and diverse partners, or using existing housing stock in new ways.

  • Meeting Community Needs and Coordinating Services

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    8 months ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Who is at risk of housing instability?

    We know there are certain population groups that are more vulnerable and are at greater risk of losing their housing due to social and economic factors. These groups include:

    • Persons with disabilities
    • Older adults
    • Low-income households
    • Survivors of domestic violence
    • Newcomers and refugees
    • Transition age youth
    • Members of the LGBTQ community
    • Indigenous peoples

    Indigenous peoples are an especially vulnerable population group due to government policies of cultural assimilation including the residential school system.

    • Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in criminal justice and child welfare systems
    • Indigenous women and girls are more likely to experience violence
    • There are higher suicide rates for Indigenous youth (5-8 times higher than non-Indigenous youth)
    • Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in homeless populations

    9% of homeless enumeration survey respondents identified as First Nations, Inuit, and Metis compared to 1.4% of the overall population of Perth County.

    What are some challenges to providing housing services and supports locally?

    While there are a number of programs available in our communities, we still face some challenges in providing housing services and supports locally. Some challenges include:
    1. Accessing Services: The City of Stratford, Perth County, and the Town of St. Marys together represent a large geographic area that includes a mix of rural and urban communities. Housing services and supports, however, are concentrated in Stratford. This creates challenges in accessing services.
    2. Coordinating Services: Multiple levels of government and service providers from various sectors are involved in housing services and supports. This can make coordinating those services more complicated because there are differences in funding and reporting requirements.
    3. Making the Right Fit: People have different housing needs and require different supports and services in order to find and keep their housing. We want to have a system in place that individuals are getting the right type of service at the right time.

    How can we improve housing services and supports for residents with a broad range of needs?

    If we want to be better at providing housing services and supports in our communities, we need a fuller understanding of the barriers and challenges faced by individuals who are looking for help. Then we can make sure that local programming is available to people based on their unique needs. We also want to make sure that programs work together to provide the best possible services to those who need those supports.