Sensitively Addressing the Homeless Homesteads throughout the Core
Dear friends, colleagues, BIA’s and Neighbourhood Associations.
Our ward 2 office has recently been engaging with various stakeholders with respect to the issue of increased homelessness, living rough activities at various locations throughout our downtown and how we are sensitively continuing to address this issue. Janice Brown of the Durand Neighbourhood Association executive has suggested that I share the following update with all of you so that you may be advised of and share with your networks, the actions we are taking. This is a good suggestion.
Respecting the recent influx of concerns raised regarding an increased presence of homeless persons in the downtown who may be living rough, our ward 2 office has assembled a qualified staff working group to focus on assisting those individuals many of us have noticed at various intersections and other public areas of the core. Staff met again on this as recently as yesterday as a group to consider various options and better understand the roles of those involved in response to these sorts of issues and consider various plans to move forward. I have cc’d Michelle Baird from Public Health who is fronting this work.
Among those engaging on this are representatives from Public Health (Mental Health Street Outreach), Housing, Paramedics and Hamilton Police Social Navigation. The group is committed to continuing to meet and better understand each other’s roles as well as identify where there are gaps and how we address the gaps with respect to addressing the needs of the clients. Most importantly, we are working with the population and individuals involved in trying to find solutions for the individuals and our community.
Please continue to bring forward locations where you may see opportunities to assist those folks in need. We will ensure that this team receives updates regularly. Street Outreach staff are receiving our calls/emails and are locating clients to initiate work with clients within 24 hours. Due to the nature of the work and the population we are working with it does take some time and multiple conversations to move some of the clients along through the system and of course it takes time to identify appropriate housing/shelter opportunities.
Although I can assure you we are following up on all complaints/issues raised we are unable to provide details to you about our follow ups in most instances as we need to protect the privacy of our clients involved. Again, we are going to continue to coordinate and work as a group, much in the same way that happened during the response to the issues we translated to staff respecting York Blvd earlier this year. We are also going to work to develop a plan that we can use not only right now but as issues such as these arise again.
Thank you again for engaging on this.