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Experiencing Homelessness 2012 the New Brunswick Report Card on Homelessness

Fredericton Edition

Homelessness & Shelter in NB1 The Fundamentals

Fredericton Overview

Housing First

Community Highlights

3 p. 4 p. 6 p. 11 p.

This is the fourth Report Card on Homelessness in New Brunswick. Using 2011 data, it presents a profile of homelessness in the province and, in

1,410

1,296

Individuals who stayed at an emergency homeless shelter Fredericton

323

298

Emergency Homeless Shelter beds in NB

159

149

32

32

751

675

Transition house beds for youth in NB Children and youth in care (March)

Homelessness & Housing in NB Total subsidized rental portfolio in NB

(Bathurst, Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John). The Community Homelessness Network

Wait list for affordable housing (Fredericton)

Action Group on Homelessness, the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee and the Greater Saint John Homelessness Steering Committee have come together to

2011

Individuals who stayed at an emergency homeless shelter in New Brunswick

particular, in the four designated communities under the Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Inc. (Bathurst), the Fredericton Community

2010

2010

2011

13,346

13,600

4905

5050

800

982

Market rental vacancy (Fredericton)

2.6%

2.5%

Market rental average rent (Fredericton)

$730

$747

Wait list for affordable housing (NB)

NB Households in core housing need

Homelessness & Income in NB

2010

2011

40,396

40,813

NB social assistance rate for a single person (on Transitional Assistance Program).

$537

$537

Minimum wage (December)

$9.00

$9.50

Individuals receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (for low income seniors) (November)

55,452

56,090

• 13 transition houses in NB

Individuals receiving Canada Pension Plan Disability (November)

14,194

14,298

• 22,509 bed nights

EI claimants (November)

32,890

33,780

create this publication. These organizations represent and work with agencies throughout the province that work with homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless. See the back cover for contact information.

Transition Houses in NB 2011

• average # of nights stayed was 1,838

Individuals on NB social assistance (December)

29,400 (2006 census)

Homelessness & Hunger in NB

• average monthly number of women using transition homes was 60

Individuals assisted by food banks (March)

• the average monthly number of children was 40

Consumer Price Index for food in NB

Number of Food banks & community kitchens

2010

2011

18,517

18,539

58

59

126.9

132.8

Sources available upon request.

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Cette publication est disponible en français dans notre site Web à: www.cagh.ca/rapport-sur-itinerance


defining homelessness Homelessness is like an iceberg, the largest part is hidden from view. The following definitions offer a more complete picture of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Absolute homelessness - living outdoors, sleeping on the street, staying in emergency shelters. Hidden homelessness - moving continuously among temporary housing arrangements “couch surfing.” At risk of homelessness - individuals and families at risk of imminent risk of eviction, paying too high a proportion of income on housing (thus forgoing other necessities), living in overcrowded or unacceptable housing. Also includes individuals being discharged from the criminal justice system, individuals leaving a health facility after an extended stay, as well as youth exiting the child welfare system. Chronic homelessness - individuals and families who have been continuously homeless for at least six months or have had two or more episodes of homelessness in the last two years.

the fundamentals Here are some of the main principles that inform our action on homelessness in our community. 1. There is a moral imperative to address homelessness: Rates of morbidity (chronic illness and poor health) and mortality (death) are extremely high among individuals experiencing homelessness in our community. This death and suffering is preventable. We can do better. 2. A system built around “Housing First” works best: Traditionally, people experiencing homelessness were expected to address the issues that led to their homelessness (such as mental health issues or addictions) before they were eligible to receive housing support. Housing First seeks to rapidly re-house individuals as quickly as possible and then begin to work on the issues that contributed to their homelessness from the stability and safety of a home. Housing First programs respect client choice, follow a harm reduction approach and see permanent housing as a basic human right. 3. There is a strong business case for ending homelessness: The cost of managing homelessness through emergency and institutional interventions is much higher than ending homelessness by providing appropriate housing and supports.

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Fredericton: How are we doing?

Fredericton overview

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The trends are encouraging as the number of individuals staying at the Fredericton Homeless Shelters Inc. has fallen for the fourth year in a row, showing signs that strong partnerships toward a “Housing First” approach can make a huge difference. The numbers are telling: in 2008 there were 432 unique individuals who stayed at the Fredericton Homeless Shelters, in 2011 that number dropped to 298. This represents a 31% reduction in shelter use over four years.

Four year trend at the Fredericton Homeless Shelters Facilities at the Fredericton Homeless Shelters Inc. include a 30 bed menʼs shelter and a 10 bed womenʼs shelter.

500

432 435 370

New investments in affordable housing, particularly the opening of a new 12 unit supportive, affordable housing development by the John Howard Society of Fredericton are already demonstrating a significant return on investment. While reduced shelter usage is worth celebrating, it is not the only indicator of homelessness. Fredericton has a high incidence of individuals who are precariously housed and at risk of homelessness. Currently, there are no solid indicators of how many people might be living outdoors, on the street or couch surfing. These individuals are often referred to as the “hidden homeless.” Using Canadian estimates by the Wellesley Instituteʼs report Precarious Housing in Canada (2010) there could be as many as 1,300 individuals in Fredericton who meet this description. In New Brunswick, the average cost of rental accommodations is highest in Fredericton while vacancy rates are the lowest. Census data from 2006 indicates there are 1,095 overcrowded households, 2,485 households in need of major repair and 6,105 households are paying too high a proportion of their income on shelter costs. This makes for a large number of vulnerably housed individuals who are at risk of homelessness in Greater Fredericton.

305

377 323

298

240 2008 2009 2010 2011 Unique individual clients

In 2011, 298 individuals stayed at the Fredericton Homeless Shelters compared to 323 individuals in 2010. There has been a 31% decrease in shelter usage since 2008.

Contributing factors: -New affordable housing development -Increased social assistance rates -Stabilized funding for shelters -Shift to “housing first” mentality -Better case management and “organized departures” from shelters


local assets Supportive Housing Network A concerted effort to transition long term homeless shelter clients into affordable housing began in 2009 and has led to the creation of the Supportive Housing Network in Fredericton. The multistakeholder committee works collaboratively to support the successful transition and sustainable tenancy of homeless individuals into safe, affordable housing. This model has been so successful in breaking the cycle of homelessness, it is being replicated throughout New Brunswick.

An essential service hosted by Partners for Youth Inc., the Outreach project mobilizes community in order to address ongoing issues for homeless and near homeless individuals. Using a housing first approach, the project works with individuals and families to access and maintain affordable housing toward more independent living.

Shelter services Funding for homeless shelters continues under the New Brunswick Homelessness Framework toward the goal of ending chronic homelessness. Additional resources enable shelters to provide case management of shelter clients in order to achieve “organized departures.� This includes access to income, permanent housing, referral to community services and supports to maintain housing. Shelters continue to rely on public support through fundraising activities in order maintain core services.

Supporting youth

New affordable housing

Youth in Transition - Chrysalis House has provided homeless and at risk teenage girls safe, stable and secure housing since 1996. Now, the organization is actively researching housing options for male youth.

In 2011, 87 new units of affordable housing were added to the Fredericton market, and 254 units have been built throughout New B r u n s w i c k b y p r i v a t e a n d n o n p r o fi t developers.

local assets

Fredericton Community Outreach Project

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housing first in fredericton a look at the John Howard Society of Fredericton’s Housing First program

On October 1, 2010, the John Howard Society of Fredericton opened a new supportive affordable housing program based on the principles of housing first. At the time of moving in, all twelve individuals had experienced homelessness or were at risk of homelessness. The first block is a self reported breakdown of emergency & institutional services used by tenants one year prior to moving in (before ending homelessness). The next block (next page) is a breakdown of the same services used over one year after ending homelessness with safe, supportive, affordable housing offered by the John Howard Society of Fredericton.

911 = 34

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2310 NIGHTS IN EMERGENCY SHELTERS


one year after ending homelessness...

"

notice the difference? One year later, the use of costly emergency and institutional services has decreased substantially, demonstrating that housing first leads to better outcomes for individuals who are accessing supportive housing and for the community at large.

Housing First demonstrates that it costs less to end homelessness by providing appropriate housing with supports compared to managing homelessness t h ro u g h o n g o i n g e m e r g e n c y a n d institutional responses.

Don’t think we can end homelessness? Think again.


provincial highlights Social Assistance Reform (in)adequacy of NB welfare incomes 79%

74%

70%

provincial issues

64%

64%

56% 43% 30%

Single Employable

Person with a disability

Lone parent, one child

2000

Two parents, two children

2011

This graph demonstrates the inadequacy of current welfare incomes as a percentage of the Market Basket Measure (MBM). The MBM is based on a specific basket of goods and services representing a basic standard of living including a nutritious diet, clothing, shelter, transportation and other essential goods and services. The inadequacy of the current social assistance system leaves many individuals and families at risk of homelessness. Reforms have been promised through New Brunswick始s poverty reduction strategy, and the Community Action Group on Homelessness encourages government and stakeholders to focus on achieving more objectives in 2012. Social Assistance Reform objectives over five years i. Move from rules based to outcome based system; ii. Move from passive assistance to employment orientation; iii. Move from focus on income poverty to social and economic inclusion; iv. Restructure and increase social assistance rates including a new regime more appropriate for persons with disabilities; v. Significant overhaul of household income policy, vi. Introduction of vision and dental care for children in low-income families by April 1, 2011; vii. Provide more opportunities to keep earned income as individuals transition to work; viii. Reform wage exemptions to include a working income supplement; ix. Raise allowable asset exemption;

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x. Link benefits such as child care, home heating and health to household income to the extent possible. p.


provincial highlights A new cost-shared housing agreement was signed in November 2011 between the federal and provincial governments. The agreement will see an investment of nearly $47 million—$23.4 million from both levels of government—which will be earmarked for the construction of new affordable rental housing units and the renovation of existing housing. The federal allocation to the province is based on provincial/territorial population and core housing need data (affordability, accessibility, and adequacy). The bulk of New Brunswickʼs contribution will go towards rent supplements to ensure newly constructed units remain affordable to low income households (over 20 years). The federal share of the agreement will go towards capital undertakings: the rehabilitation and new construction of affordable housing, including: 1) $7 million for new construction (the Affordable Rental Housing Program), which will provide for 170 new units (at $40,000 each) for the entire province; and 2) $16 million for renovations (Homeowner and Rental Renovation Programs), the majority of which will go towards major repairs for low income homeowners. New Brunswick outlined its commitment to increase affordable housing in its strategy Hope is a Home, although the province is very dependent on federal funding to realize this initiative. The agreementʼs framework gives New Brunswick the ability to design and deliver affordable housing initiatives based on the provinceʼs specific needs. However, because Canada does not have a national housing strategy, this agreement does not ensure a strategic response to the housing needs of Canadians as a whole.

affordable housing

• Affordable Housing agreement signed •

community highlights • Bathurst • The Emergency Homeless Shelter is now in its second year of operation and has seen a slight increase of individuals using the shelter, with about 60% of the clients being youth aged 16-21 staying at the shelter. With this being said, we are currently working on a plan to assist the youth so they will have a more stable lifestyle allowing them to get education and life skills so they can look forward to a future of self-sufficiency. The Bathurst Youth Centre has been applying for grants and working on proposals to for a Youth Transitional House in the Chaleur Region. In 2011, we were successful when we were awarded $5000.00 from Evaʼs Initiative. Winning this award has inspired us to continue our work with youth to break the cycle of homelessness - one person at a time. With the support of the communities and the continuation of our many fundraising initiatives, the Community Homeless Network, in collaboration with the Bathurst Youth Centre, will continue to offer services to the homeless population in order to assist them in becoming self-sufficient.

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community highlights community highlights

• Greater Moncton • At Home/Chez Soi project is making a difference As of the end of 2011, the At Home/Chez Soi project in Greater Moncton and rural areas of southeastern New Brunswick is showing a 93% success rate. A project of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, At Home/ Chez Soi is part of a national multi-city study for people who have been chronically homeless or “precariously housed,” and have mental health problems. The program is based on “Housing First,” which means that clients are provided housing, and then helped to deal with whatever issues they have. To date, 114 of the 123 (93%) participants receiving Housing First were successfully housed. This has had a tremendous impact in Greater Moncton, not only helping some of our most vulnerable citizens but also freeing

up space on waiting lists so that those still struggling with homelessness can more readily find help. Other fronts are not as positive. Emergency shelter use is up this year, in part because the waiting time to get an appointment with Social Assistance was longer because of government staff cuts. In Moncton, we know that the number of people using the emergency shelters is only the “tip of the iceberg,” that there are many more “hidden homeless,” including significant women and youth. Our challenge in the coming year is to find a methodology for reliably being able to measure such “couch surfers,” in order to have a better handle on “how weʼre really doing” in our efforts to end and prevent homelessness in Greater Moncton.

• Greater Saint John • The Saint John community saw both ups and downs in its work on the homelessness file. Some of the promising endeavours include: • Saint John Youth House—a proposed 10-bed transitional housing facility for youth 16 to 24 years of age—made significant headway in 2011. The project received an initial investment of $50,000 from the provincial government for phase 1 of the undertaking (development of the project). The next phase will see the kick-off of the capital campaign in the spring. • The STAR Network, modelled after Frederictonʼs SUN Network, got off the ground in 2011. The network is a multi-sectoral group of service providers that work with homeless individuals/those at-risk of homelessness by offering wrap-around services to help them move from shelters and unsafe housing into safe and affordable housing. The network is currently in the process of placing its first client.

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• In the fall of 2011, the Church of Saint Andrew and Saint David opened the Abbey, a 96-unit housing complex in the cityʼs South End. It is a mixed income development that offers 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments as well as street-level townhouse units. More than half of the apartments (55) are available as affordable housing units (rent geared to income), while p.the remaining 41 are available at market rents.

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From page 1: Homelessness & Shelter in NB 1. Individuals who stayed at an emergency shelter in 2010 and 2011: Combination of unique individual users in 2011 calendar year from the following emergency homeless shelters: Nazareth House (Moncton), Harvest House (Moncton), Coverdale Emergency Shelter (Saint John), Salvation Army Residential Services (Saint John), Fredericton Homeless Shelters Inc. (Fredericton), Emergency Homeless Shelter (Bathurst). The Salvation Army Miramichi Community Resource Centre shelter data is not included.

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network contacts Community Homelessness Network Inc. (Bathurst) Pauline Armstrong: 506.545.0805, parmstrong@nb.aibn.com The Fredericton Community Action Group on Homelessness Tim Ross: 506.444.8199, coordinator@cagh.ca Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee Sue Calhoun: 506.877.2343, scalhoun@nbnet.nb.ca Greater Saint John Homelessness Steering Committee Kathryn Asher at 506-636-8549, kathryn@sjhdc.ca

more resources Watch & listen: You can see the faces of homelessness across Canada and the United States and and hear their stories first hand at www.invisiblepeople.tv. Learn: You can learn more by accessing Canada’s premiere library of homelessness related research and information at www.homelesshub.ca Give: You can donate to organizations committed to ending homelessness. To learn about organizations like this, go to www.cagh.ca Act: You can volunteer with organizations committed to ending homelessness. To learn about organizations like this, go to www.cagh.ca

Use a QR Code Reader on your smart phone to go directly to the document, or go to: www.cagh.ca/2011-report-card

The Community Action Group on Homelessness is a Fredericton based network of nonprofit organizations, community leaders and government liaisons who are working toward ending h o m e l e s s n e s s t h ro u g h c o l l a b o r a t i o n a n d community engagement. To learn more, visit www.cagh.ca


Experiencing Homelessness: New Brunswick Report Card on Homelessness (Fredericton Edition)