United Way works closely with community agencies – those that receive funding and those who do not – to ensure we remain connected on the issues and are able to respond to gaps in services. One such agency is the Guelph-Wellington Poverty Task Force (a United Way funded program). United Way staff participate as an active member of a number of committees to ensure we are informed on issues like homelessness and food insecurity.
In 2016, the Guelph-Wellington Poverty Task Force and County of Wellington Social Services made a strategic decision to co-lead a local initiative under the umbrella of the national 20,000 Homes Campaign. The 20,000 Homes Campaign is national movement focused on ending chronic homelessness in 20 communities and housing 20,000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people by July 1, 2020.
Since joining the campaign, the Poverty Task Force (PTF) and the County have coordinated two successful joint Registry Week / Point-in-Time Counts, became the fourth community in Canada to establish a Quality By-Name List(BNL), and launched a Coordinated Access System (CAS) that has transformed the local homeless-serving system.
During the 2018 Point-In-Time Count, a total of 325 individuals were experiencing homelessness in Guelph-Wellington. Fifty-six percent (56%) of the population was temporarily sheltered, including couch surfing, staying a motel/hotel, and in public systems, such as a hospital or jail. Twenty-three percent (23%) was emergency sheltered, including shelters for individuals/families impacted by family violence. Fourteen percent (14%) were unsheltered, sleeping in public or private spaces without consent or contract and in places unfit for human habitation, such as a makeshift shelter or vehicle. Finally, nine percent (9%) had an unknown location, either because the participant did not wish to share their location or because they did not know where they were going to stay at the time of the survey.
For more information on homelessness in our community, visit www.gwpoverty.ca