Ask Us About...Homelessness Services

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The City of Stratford is committed to ending homelessness locally. A number of programs and services are available in the community to support local households experiencing homelessness (or at risk of becoming homeless) with finding and keeping safe and appropriate housing. This includes:

  • Offering short-term emergency accommodations through the use of local motels
  • Providing financial assistance with rental and utility arrears as well as moving costs, last month’s rent deposits
  • Connecting individuals and families experiencing homelessness to the homelessness response system and offering them housing supports appropriate to their circumstances and needs
  • Working with other community agencies to improve our homelessness response system

*Please note that this project is intended to answer general questions only. If you are experiencing homelessness, or are concerned about a person or family in need of help please call:

519-271-3773 ext. 200

Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

OR

519-272-2294

Afterhours, weekends, and holidays


The City of Stratford is committed to ending homelessness locally. A number of programs and services are available in the community to support local households experiencing homelessness (or at risk of becoming homeless) with finding and keeping safe and appropriate housing. This includes:

  • Offering short-term emergency accommodations through the use of local motels
  • Providing financial assistance with rental and utility arrears as well as moving costs, last month’s rent deposits
  • Connecting individuals and families experiencing homelessness to the homelessness response system and offering them housing supports appropriate to their circumstances and needs
  • Working with other community agencies to improve our homelessness response system

*Please note that this project is intended to answer general questions only. If you are experiencing homelessness, or are concerned about a person or family in need of help please call:

519-271-3773 ext. 200

Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

OR

519-272-2294

Afterhours, weekends, and holidays

Thank you for asking your questions about homelessness services. Responses have been posted below.

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    Who experiences homelessness in our communities?

    2 months ago

    Anyone could experience homelessness at some point in their lives. It is important to remember that homelessness is not a character flaw, but rather a situation someone finds themselves in. Certain population groups are more vulnerable to instability and are at greater risk of losing their housing due to social and economic factors including:

    • Survivors of domestic violence
    • Indigenous peoples
    • Older adults
    • Persons with disabilities
    • Individuals with mental health needs and/or addictions
    • Low-income households
    • Households experiencing chronic homelessness
    • Immigrants and newcomers
    • Transition age youth (16 – 24 years old)
    • Members of the LGBTQ community

    This is why it is important that a broad range of services and programs are available for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness so that we can provide the appropriate level and type of support based on their diverse needs.

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    Why do people become homeless?

    2 months ago

    Homelessness is not a choice that people make. We often think of homelessness as being a result of individual circumstances such as traumatic experiences, relationship breakdown, personal crises, violent situations, and issues related to mental health and substance use. This can certainly be the case but homelessness is a complex issue and, as such, is often the result of a number of considerations that impact experiences of homelessness. Structural factors (e.g. inadequate supply of safe and affordable housing; lack of full-time, well-paying jobs; poverty; and discrimination) and systems failures (e.g. lack of supports to help individuals transition from government institutions and/or services such as hospitals, treatment centres, and jails) contribute significantly to homelessness.

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    Where do people stay if they are experiencing homelessness?

    2 months ago

    Homelessness encompasses a range of physical living situations including:

    • Unsheltered, or absolutely homeless and living on the streets, outdoors, in makeshift shelters, vehicles, or in places not intended for human habitation;
    • Emergency Sheltered, including staying in overnight shelters for people who are homeless, as well as shelters for those impacted by family violence; and
    • Provisionally Accommodated, in which accommodation is temporary and/or no lease has been signed, such as 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.

    The majority of individuals experiencing homelessness locally are provisionally accommodated.

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    What homelessness services are available locally?

    2 months ago

    The Social Services Department has a number of services to support people experiencing homelessness and assisting them with finding and maintaining housing including:

    • Short-term emergency accommodation by using local motels
    • Supported housing programs such as the Supported Housing of Perth Program (SHOPP) and the Intensive Housing and Community Outreach Coordinator provides intensive case management and housing supports to people experiencing homelessness with a high level of need.
    • The Social Services Outreach Worker Program supports households experiencing housing instability with finding and/or maintaining housing.
    • The Housing Access Centre manages the Centralized Waiting List for rent-geared-to-income housing in this area. Priority status is given to households experiencing homelessness.  

    There are also a number of community agencies that provide housing-based services and supports to people experiencing homelessness, including:

    • Stratford/Perth Shelterlink
    • Optimism Place Women’s Shelter and Support Services
    • Choices for Change Alcohol, Drug, and Gambling Counselling Centre
    • Canadian Mental Health Association Huron-Perth
    • Emily Murphy Centre
    • John Howard Society London and District
    • Salvation Army Stratford
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    Is there a waiting list for homelessness services?

    2 months ago

    Certain organizations may have waiting lists for the housing and supports they provide. However, more and more research indicates that a coordinated response to homelessness is a more effective approach to supporting people and ending homelessness. This means a system in which the processes for accessing, assessing, prioritizing, matching, and referring people experiencing homelessness for housing and other services is standardized and coordinated across all agencies and organizations in the community.

    One important tool for this is a By-Name-List which is a real-time, dynamic list of all people experiencing homelessness in the community. It is used to match households with the appropriate level of services and supports based on their needs.

    This community has been using a By-Name-List to connect people to services since 2018 and is in the initial stages of developing a coordinated access system for homelessness response.

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    Are there services available to prevent people from becoming homeless?

    2 months ago

    Yes. The City of Stratford Social Services Department uses Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) funding to provide financial assistance to households with keeping their housing. The funds can be put towards paying of rent and utility arrears. For households that are moving into another place, CHPI funds can also cover some moving costs, including the purchase of furniture, and last month’s rent deposit.

    Eligibility is based on annual net income regardless of the source and there are some restrictions as to how often the funds can be accessed by the same households.

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    What are the rules for accessing emergency accommodation through the City of Stratford Social Services Department?

    2 months ago

    Emergency accommodation is accessed through Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) funds and has some similar eligibility requirements, including income levels and limits to how often it can be accessed within a certain period of time. For people who do use this service, there is an expectation that they are engaged with the Social Services Department and are making attempts to find permanent housing options. For those who need it, additional housing-based supports can be provided during their stay.

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    Can people outside of the area use homelessness services if they would like to relocate here?

    2 months ago

    We are focused on supporting residents in our community who are experiencing homelessness. As such, residents outside of Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys are not eligible for the services and programs offered by the Social Services Department. However, we work with other municipalities and regions to make sure people still have access to the services they need and can provide them with help to get back to their home community if appropriate.