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Ending homelessness and regenerating Rideau Heights focus of National Housing Day

November 23, 2015 -

Sunday was National Housing Day. Mark it by learning about homelessness and the City of Kingston and County of Frontenac's 10-Year Housing & Homelessness Plan and what the City is doing to regenerate Rideau Heights.

"Our 10-year plan aims to meet the diverse needs of individuals and households across our community by encouraging a wide range of housing options from homelessness prevention to affordable home ownership," says Mayor Bryan Paterson. "A new approach called housing first is key to the success of our plan. Housing first focuses on finding a safe, permanent home for those in need and offering additional services to support them in remaining housed and moving their lives forward."

The plan aims to end chronic homelessness in Kingston by 2023 taking the housing-first approach. By 2023 the plan sets out steps:

  • to reduce the use of emergency shelter beds by 50 per cent
  • to make seven days the average stay for a person using an emergency shelter
  • to have no one be homeless for more than 30 days

Last week Kingston city council passed the Rideau Heights Regeneration Strategy – a 20-year plan to rebuild the neighbourhood. Find out more by watching the video on the plan at https://youtu.be/KLn8tiBuFpc.

The City is one of 21 partner communities to the 20,000 Homes Campaign working together to permanently house 20,000 homeless people nation-wide by July 1, 2018. See www.20khomes.ca for details.

Earlier this year, the City did a survey on attitudes about homelessness and found that 31 per cent had heard of the housing-first approach and that 85 per cent of them believe it will reduce homelessness in Kingston. Full survey results and details of the City's 10-year plan are available at www.CityofKingston.ca/housing.

Here are some Kingston housing and homelessness facts:

  • 87 per cent of Kingston and Frontenac County survey respondents believe everyone can stay housed if the correct supports are in place
  • Kingston's 2014 rental vacancy rate was 1.9 per cent (3 per cent is considered ideal)
  • 782 people used an emergency shelter in 2014 (down from 864 in 2013)
  • A very high proportion of renter households (47.8 per cent in 2011) are paying more than 30 per cent of their income for rent
  • The City's municipal housing strategy aims to create 1,700 new units in Kingston over the next decade
  • The City oversees 2,003 rent-geared-to-income households; at least 1,368 high-need households; and 74 accessible units for people with disabilities.

The City has several programs to support the affordability of housing in addition to supporting social housing. These include:

  • Municipal home ownership program – down payment assistance for eligible renters
  • Kingston-Frontenac Renovates – funding to assist eligible homeowners to keep their homes safe, efficient and accessible
  • Homelessness prevention fund – funds to prevent eviction or to assist people who are homeless to move to permanent housing
  • Incentives to develop affordable housing, including the land acquisition and disposition program, the secondary suites program and the $5 million affordable housing capital investment program.

About the City of Kingston

The City of Kingston provides municipal services to 125,000 residents living in this visually stunning, historic city, often ranked one of the best places to live in Canada. In 2014, it was named a Top 7 Smart Community by the Intelligent Community Forum. Kingston is focusing on being smart and livable as it pursues its vision to become Canada's most sustainable city. We focus on environmental responsibility, social equity, economic health and cultural vitality - - ensuring that today's decisions don't compromise our future. 

Please visit www.CityofKingston.ca and join the conversation on social media.

Twitter: @CityofKingston

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCityofKingston

Plan your bus trip with Google Transit: www.kingstontransit.ca/tripplanner

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Media contact: For more information contact Richelle Morgan, communications officer, 613-546-4291, ext. 1229 or call the communications department at 613-546-4291, ext. 2300.