2010 saw our momentum and success build from a good start in 2009. As we look ahead through 2011, we’re building on momentum by creating new housing for those who are currently in need. In 2010, we identified three key populations that needed our attention: chronically homeless adults, youth at risk, and mothers with children.
In September, our Board refined its priorities for 2011. With our commitment to almost 1,000 new permanent housing units now in development bringing us half-way to the goal of 2,006 new units by 2020, we’ll be directing our efforts towards how we can help prevent homelessness in the first place.
When Streetohome launched the 10-Year Plan in 2010, we identified a need for 2,006 new housing units in Vancouver to meet the need for those who are homeless or at risk. We recognize that this number represents a ‘point in time’ and will continue to change over the next year.
During 2011, we are working to determine the gap today and ideally project ahead a few years, taking into account new housing that is opening or in the process of being built, the 2011 Greater Vancouver Regional District Homeless Count, and information available from a wide variety of partners, including the City of Vancouver and Province of BC. This will help us review the goals of our 10-Year Plan and determine where we can best direct our efforts going forward. We have created a Research and Reporting Committee with many of these partners represented around the table, and this committee will continue to work at refining the data.
Homelessness isn’t an issue confined to Vancouver. Cities across Canada are facing similar challenges. Streetohome will be reaching out to our partners across the country to explore how we can work together to learn from each other, develop best practices, and put a national housing strategy on the federal agenda.
Housing is about more than just a roof over someone’s head. It’s also about their quality of life, health, and opportunities. We’ll be working with our housing partners like the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi project to quantify the effects of supportive housing and ensure that our efforts are accountable, measurable and result in a better community for everyone.