London, Ont. Leaders unveil draft plan for ‘everlasting and sustainable’ homelessness – London

London, Ont.  Leaders unveil draft plan for ‘everlasting and sustainable’ homelessness – London

Housing support, integrated care planning and 24-hour safe spaces were among the details announced Tuesday as part of the City of London’s much-anticipated plan to tackle homelessness in the South West Ontario community.

The plan, now known as London’s Health and Homelessness Whole of Community System Response, was first teased by Mayor Josh Morgan during his first-ever state speech on the city last month. He said it would create a “permanent and sustainable system” to help people affected by homelessness.

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The proposed plan from London’s Health and Homelessness Summit, which took about 100 days to develop, will focus on a series of interconnected integrated hubs that use an “all doors lead here” model and allow for flexible remittances, city officials said .

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Through this model, officials said, multiple sites could soon be spread across the community, “built specifically for the most marginalized populations” and housing a range of shared and integrated care and service functions that are managed through the help of both multi-agency and interprofessional teams.

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Speaking at the Summit press conference at RBC Place London on Tuesday morning, Scott Courtice, chief executive of the London Intercommunity Health Centre, presented the draft plan and said the scheme was also designed to provide ‘timely and direct routes to housing in a range of supportive models to offer.”

“This group has collectively said loud and clear that housing is health care and a basic human right, and that is the core belief that this systemic response is built on,” he said.

Courtice outlined a number of specific features that each hub would offer, from 24/7 safe rooms to available access to basic needs, as well as health and justice services and housing support.

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London Police Chief Steve Williams reflected on his 30 years as a police officer in the city and said the situation in the city center “has never been worse than it is today”.

Chief Steve Williams of the London Police Service tells how the city’s inner-city homelessness crisis has grown over the past 30 years.

— Amy Simon (@AmySimonGlobal) February 21, 2023

“As one of the few first responders that works 24/7, our members see suffering on our streets every day…they see people struggling and sadly, they see people dying,” he said. “But out of all our discussions, I think something really extraordinary has emerged.”

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Additionally, community leaders stressed that the plan would ensure an anti-racism, anti-oppression and harm reduction approach, as well as a specific design that “ensures frontline agencies are not asked to do more with already strained resources.”

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“I know I said that in the state of the city (address), but there are frontline workers who have worked in this field for most of their lives and it has been a frustrating, difficult and challenging experience to continue to see that the Things aren’t getting better,” Mayor Morgan said.

“This is truly an emergency for our city. This is a crisis. This is something we cannot hesitate to respond to.”

Mayor Josh Morgan on the City’s draft system response to address homelessness unveiled at London’s Health and Homelessness Summit.

— Amy Simon (@AmySimonGlobal) February 21, 2023

In a draft estimate, the plan said a total of about 12 to 15 hub sites would be developed throughout the community, with an estimated five launch sites predicted. In addition, up to 30 people could be cared for at each site, “depending on the severity and needs of the population,” the report said.

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Also, according to the plan, 100 housing units with high support could be built immediately and 600 in three years.

The draft system response was the result of a three-month community summit process that brought together more than 200 people representing at least 70 local organizations in hopes of “making a significant difference” to help London’s homeless population.

The summits, which began back in November, saw representatives from a range of sectors including community health and social services, business and economic development, education, emergency services and more.

“This cross-industry group of dedicated Londoners have agreed to work together in new ways, to recognize and build on the great work already done, to acknowledge the things that haven’t worked so well, to bring new people and new resources to the effort and to speak together in voice to the funders who are able to resource our system,” said Beth Mitchell, co-chief executive officer of CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services, who also launched the program.

In terms of system resources, Tuesday’s revelation included an update from the Health and Homelessness Fund for Change, which was first started after a $25 million donation in support of the plan by an anonymous local family. The family offered an additional $5 million if community donations can match that amount.

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Fund for Change chair Marcus Plowright, along with Diane Silva, director of philanthropy at the London Community Foundation, confirmed that the fund has raised nearly $650,000 in new donations since the mayor’s address.

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In response to London’s Health and Homelessness Whole of Community System Response Plan and the funds raised by people in the community, SafeSpace London Executive Director Jenna Rose Sands said it was all “a bit overwhelming”.

“When I think back to what triggered the hunger strike and where we were in the months leading up to it, it’s incredible,” she said. “This entire process is essential and the first step towards radical change.”

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Ark Aid Mission executive director Sarah Campbell supported Sands’ statement, adding that “it’s been an incredibly hopeful process to get to this moment.”

“It’s also very encouraging what the community can achieve together,” she said. “Although this is only a draft I am delighted that we have agreed on all our wishes for this issue to be addressed and with so many stakeholders and sectors being taken into account it gives me great hope that we will indeed do so.” can change the conditions in a meaningful way so that we have different results than in the past.”

“I’m excited. I am hopeful and think many of my colleagues in this sector echo those sentiments,” said Ericka Ayala Ronson, Executive Director of Mission Services of London. “Having been present at some of the summit meetings and having to withhold some of it, I’m really looking forward to the collective conversations this work has sparked to anticipate what the future holds in terms of implementation.”

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The proposed system solution for the whole community is due to be presented to the City Council’s Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee for approval and possible allocation of funds from the London Community Recovery Network fund on 28 February.