Adequate supply and range of affordable housing choices to meet the needs of present and future residents of Halton Hills is an important goal of Council for the current term, as expressed in the Town Official Plan. In Spring 2019, Council directed staff to take a number of short-term actions to address the issue of housing affordability in Halton Hills, including:
Continue to review and assess Town-owned properties for opportunities to provide affordable housing, and seek partners to develop those potential ‘quick win’ opportunities;
Establish a Town-led Affordable Housing Working Group, with participation from the Region, and non-profit and for-profit developers/builders;
Incorporate consideration of financial incentives and municipal leadership actions focused on affordable and accessible housing into the upcoming review of the Community Improvement Plan; and,
Review and streamline the Town’s 2-Unit Program (i.e. accessory units) approval and administration process, from application to inspection to fees to communication and outreach.
Ongoing initiatives related to housing affordability include the expansion of land use permissions for accessory apartments/units (i.e. secondary units) in the Town Comprehensive Zoning By-law.
Everyone has the right to safe, decent, permanent and affordable housing. Sadly, homelessness exists in every country, city and town, and is the result of many different factors. You may have personal experience in witnessing homeless individuals in Halton Hills and wondered how you can help.
What is homelessness?
According to the Canadian Observatory of Homelessness, homelessness is “the situation of an individual, family, or community without stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect means and ability of acquiring it.”
The homeless population is hard to count because of their mobility and the cyclical nature of homelessness. Halton Region, Social and Community Services Department estimated the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Halton Hills to be 17 individuals as of April 2018, including those staying in emergency shelter, motels, and transitional housing. An updated enumeration will take place in April 2020.
How does someone become homeless?
People become homeless for many reasons and causes can combine to the point that an individual is no longer able to sustain a home. People become unhoused when individual and family problems become insurmountable and seem hopeless. This can include catastrophic events such as loss of employment; family break-up or violence; mental and/or other debilitating illnesses; increasing housing costs or chronic substance abuse.
How you can help
There is help for homeless individuals in Halton Hills, supported by Halton Region.
If you witness or there is someone you know who is homeless, here’s what you can do.
Call 311: staff will triage clients to determine the best service provider to outreach and respond to the situation including providing access to the Housing Stability Fund, Emergency Shelter, Halton Housing Help or Bridging the Gap outreach
Call Halton Region Police non-emergency number at 905-878-5511 (1 District (Georgetown) Office): the report may be referred to the Community Engagement Team for response and appropriate referral
When someone doesn’t want help
Often the stigma and shame attached to becoming homeless deters people who need it the most. Halton Region is aware of individuals who don’t wish to access emergency shelter services, and can guide them to local supports around mental health outreach, housing related case management services as well as emergency food. Any community group concerned about a particular individual in their community is encouraged to call Halton Region to access supports and services for these vulnerable individuals. Individuals who have been identified as being homeless would be reviewed at monthly meetings of the Region’s Homelessness Collaborative Table, or the Halton Situation Table where Halton Region Police are involved.
What’s being done to combat homelessness?
A Homelessness Action Table under the Community Safety and Well Being Plan was established in 2017 to develop a clear and coordinated process with government, agencies and service providers to proactively address homelessness.
Recreation and Parks Department staff will continue to have a role working with Halton Region’s Community Safety and Wellbeing team to connect resources with local needs.