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Vibrant Communities. 6 th Annual Conference Ontario Business Improvement Area Association. Safe Streets – Friendly Streets: Community Approaches to Keeping Your Downtown Safe & Welcoming. March 27 th , 2006 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Fairmount Chateau Laurier. Homelessness:.

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Vibrant Communities

6th Annual Conference

Ontario Business Improvement Area Association

Safe Streets – Friendly Streets:

Community Approaches to Keeping Your Downtown Safe & Welcoming

March 27th, 2006

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

Fairmount Chateau Laurier


A Solution-Focused Approach

Care or Cure

Managed Problem or Solution

Homeless people and stereotypes
Homeless People and Stereotypes

  • People are homeless because they choose that lifestyle

  • Homeless people are drug addicts and alcoholics

  • Helping the homeless will create a culture of dependency

  • Homeless people are lazy and refuse to work

Homeless people and stereotypes continued
Homeless People and Stereotypescontinued

  • Homeless people are involved with petty criminal activities

  • Most homeless people come from somewhere else

  • All panhandlers are homeless

  • Once homeless, always homeless

Million dollar murray article by malcolm gladwell
Million Dollar MurrayArticle by Malcolm Gladwell

  • Ex-marine, 6 feet tall, heavyset, “Smokey”

  • Chosen drink was vodka

  • Story develops his character and relationship with authorities

  • Treatment programs, but reverted to drinking once on the street again

  • In 6 months more than $100,000 spent (hospital bills, treatment costs, doctor’s fees, etc.)

  • Author looks at U.S. literature that found 80% of homelessness did not stay homeless

Overview of selected panel study findings
Overview of Selected Panel Study Findings

  • Approximately 30% of the total sample came to Ottawa homeless

  • Less than 5% of the total sample were homeless greater than 5 years or more

  • 76% of participants were housed at the time of the 2 year follow up (families 97%, single men 47%)

  • Much higher risk of physical injury among panel study participants and much greater use of emergency room services

  • Much greater use of hospitals and convalescent homes

Reasons for homelessness

Youth: family problems

Families: financial difficulties

Adults: financial difficulties (adult females are frequently victims of abuse)

For all groups, childhood stressors were high (over 30% spend time in out of family care; for male youth this was approximately 60%)

Reasons for Homelessness

Housing first strategies
Housing First Strategies

  • Housing First is,… the direct provision of permanent, independent housing to people who are homeless

  • Portable supports – can involve money management skills, case management for medical care, medication adherence, nutrition, etc.

  • Harm Reduction: an approach aimed at reducing the risks and harmful effects associated with substance use and addictive behaviours for the person, the community, and society as a whole, without requiring abstinence.

Why housing first
Why Housing First?

  • Do we take an intentional solution-focused approach

  • Technical Assistance program from the Downtown Associations describe Calgary as in a Care versus Cure dilemma

  • Why problems like homelessness might be easier to solve than to manage

What about solutions
What About Solutions?

  • A national strategy

  • Cooperation among all levels of government

  • An intentional action plan

  • Full assessment and implementation planning

You can help

Skills – offer your professional skills directly to community agencies

Energy – use your energy to write letters or approach politicians on behalf of those experiencing homelessness

Money – use your money to provide material assistance to community agencies

Time – spend your time on committees and/or coalitions working to develop strategies to end homelessness

Inform – most importantly, continue to inform yourself, your family and community!

Donate – offer supplies, equipment, or financial assistance to community agencies

You Can Help

Reference material
Reference Material