In Ontario, many agencies, governments and funders work to help people leave homelessness. They need to be able to work closely together to provide an effective and seamless service. In 2019, people working in the Toronto area took time away from delivering, managing and funding the services to assess how they could raise the quality and consistency of services they collectively provide.
The discussions over four sessions led to many decisions about changes to improve the service system. The people who led the meetings have issued an account of how the meetings were conducted. They also recorded the decisions the participants made. The decisions include ideas that will be of interest beyond the Toronto area where the meetings took place.
Their report provides a complete listing of program approaches, organized by population group. Youth and refugees are two examples of population groups. Within each group, programs are grouped by the intended outcome. This means that all of the programs that focus on preventing homelessness among youth, for example, are listed together.
The listings include programs regardless of whether they are offered in the Toronto area. Every program is considered to be a best practice, which provides assurance that the program has been tried and has been a success. This will help anyone who is looking to understand where a service fits, and/or to identify gaps in services.
The people at the meetings came up with a strategy that assists agencies providing services in different jurisdictions to provide consistent services. This should improve outcomes for people who receive services, regardless of where they access the service system.
The report also describes a process to evolve services that will be more helpful to indigenous people. This will be of interest to people in Canada, where indigenous people are much more likely to experience homelessness than any other group in the population. The same process might also be a guide for service providers and governments where a specific population is prominent among the people experiencing homelessness.
Finally, the report emphasizes that more housing for people with very low or no incomes is urgently needed as part of the strategy to end homelessness.
The report is posted at the Homeless Hub: Homelessness Solutions Lab