What is Homelessness?
Homelessness describes the experience of an individual or family with no housing most often living with co-occurring issues of addiction, mental health, poor physical health, trauma and violence.
What is London doing about Homelessness?
The City of London’s Homeless Prevention System is a coordinated response aimed at supporting individuals and families experiencing homelessness to maintain housing stability. From the stability and safety of home, individuals and families begin to work on the issues that contributed to their homelessness.
What is London’s Coordinated Informed Response?
London’s Coordinated Informed Response works together with multiple service areas and organizations. This caring and compassionate response aims to support individuals who are street involved, sleeping rough and urban camping in finding safe alternative solutions focused on housing.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers - Reporting a Concern
In some situations, an individual, or groups of individuals experiencing homelessness may demonstrate distressing, disruptive and/or unpredictable behaviours.
Someone in distress
- In an emergency situation, if someone is causing harm to themselves, others, or property, call 911.
- If someone appears to be experiencing homelessness, call London Cares at 519-667-2273 (CARE), available 24/7hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Do not attempt to remove the camp.
- Report the location and details to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-661-4570.
Discarded Needles or Drug Using Equipment
- If you come across needles and other drug using equipment found in your community, call 519-661-CITY (2489) ext. 4965. This phone line is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- For more information on the safe handling and disposal of needles and other drug using equipment, go to london.ca/needles.
Homelessness begins in a home, in a neighbourhood, in our communities. The lasting or permanent solution to preventing and ending homelessness is housing with support. It has been the historical and often current practice, that individuals and families experiencing homelessness were expected to address the issues that led to their homelessness such as addiction, trauma and mental illness before they were housed.
Principles of London's Homeless Prevention System:
- Homelessness is a solvable problem
- Housing First/Housing with Support
- Individual and family centred
- Harm Reduction approach
- Partnership based
- London driven
- Neighbourhood based
- Fiscally responsible
- Outcome focused
London's Homeless Prevention System focuses on: Securing Housing; Housing with Support; Housing Stability; and Shelter Diversion. Strategy, Competency and Capacity will strengthen ties and achieve the actions of our Implementation Plan.
Two primary outcomes guide the efforts and form the basis for the indicators of success:
- Individuals and families experiencing homelessness obtain and retain housing.
- Individuals and families at risk of homelessness remain housed.
The priority of a Housing First approach is to move individuals and families experiencing homelessness quickly into housing with support and then begin to work on the issues that contributed to their homelessness from the stability and safety of their own home.
“A Housing First or Housing with Support approach assists individuals and families by seeking out and supporting the right housing, at the right place, with the right level of support to develop lasting housing stability. “ A Homeless Prevention System for London
A housing and service intervention that provides immediate access to permanent housing and support services and is based on a philosophy of client choice. Participants are not required to participate in psychiatric treatment or attain a period of sobriety in order to obtain housing. (Pathways to Housing)
Principles of Housing First
- Immediate access to permanent housing with no housing readiness requirements - This involves working with individuals and families to locate and secure permanent housing as rapidly as possible and assist them with moving in.
- Choice and self-determination – Individuals and families are provided choice in terms of housing options as well as the services they wish to access. Housing choice can be strengthened by offering flexible, permanent housing allowances as an investment in housing stability.
- Individual and family focused supports are provided in the home - The focus is on housing stability. From the security, stability and well being of home individuals and families can begin to address the reasons that led to their experience of homelessness.
- Acceptance of any services, including treatment, or sobriety, is not a requirement for accessing or maintaining housing.
- Harm reduction – Individuals are not required to maintain a level of sobriety to access housing or support services.
- Community integration – Using services and encouraging relationships that promote community belonging in the neighbourhood where individuals and families reside.
VI-SPDAT and SPDAT (A Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool)
- A triage tool, being used in London, that quickly assesses the health and social needs of individuals and families
- An in-depth housing stability focused assessment to determine an individual’s or family’s acuity
- It assists in prioritizing who should receive what type of housing assistance intervention.
- Targets case management activities
- Documents change over time reliably
London's Public Monument - Recognizing and Commemorating Lives Lost as a Result of Homelessness
The City of London and the London Homeless Coalition are working cooperatively to support an improved community response to lives lost in London as a result of homelessness.
On October 10, 2013, World Homeless Action Day, a public monument was unveiled in Campbell Park. The inscription on the memorial reads "Honouring and Remembering Lives Lost through Homelessness in London. October 10, 2013."