Alert - Homelessness
Content - Community Services - Housing - Homeless
The City is the Service Manager, responsible for administering Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) funding in Kingston and the County of Frontenac. It partners with community agencies to prevent homelessness and house people who are experiencing homelessness. The 10-Year Municipal Housing and Homelessness Plan for Kingston and County of Frontenac has the following four priority program areas to reduce chronic homelessness. Together they form a "housing first" approach aimed at quickly finding permanent homes for those in the greatest need and supporting them in staying there:
- Prevention and Diversion Program: focuses on preventing homelessness and diverts people who have other options from accessing the emergency shelter system. Resources for this program include the Homelessness Prevention Fund (described below) and the Extreme Clean Program, which provides assistance to prevent homelessness caused by hoarding behaviour.
- Housing Assistance and Emergency Shelter Program: identifies the primary housing and supports best-suited to a homeless individual's or family's needs and provides essential services to meet immediate needs for overnight accommodation, nutrition, hygiene, safety and security.
- Rapid Re-housing and Housing First Program: assists individuals and families who have the deepest and most chronic needs to maintain housing through individualized housing case management supports.
- Homelessness Prevention Fund: provides funding to assist eligible individuals and families to help them stay housed or secure housing (e.g., through offering rent or utility payment assistance). Funding is in the form of a non-repayable grant that prevents an up-coming eviction or assists homeless people or families with moving to permanent housing.
If you are homeless and need a place to stay, contact one of the emergency shelters below to find placement:
- Adults, ages 25+: In From the Cold - 613-531-3779
- Youth, ages 16-24: Kingston Youth Shelter - 613-766-3200
- Parents with dependent children up to age 16: Lily's Place - 613-767-6180
- Women and children fleeing domestic violence: Interval House* - 613-546-1833
* This is not a City funded shelter
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are shelters closing?
- Clients are being successfully housed through Rapid Re-housing/Housing First initiatives. Since the beginning of 2017, 155 households have secured housing through this program.
- Shelter use is down. The use of shelters has decreased by approximately 23 percent since the beginning of 2015.
- Clients are becoming connected to supports through programs like Prevention/Diversion and Street Outreach resulting in a reduced need for emergency shelters.
- Ryandale Shelter for the Homeless was operating as an overflow shelter. As a result of reduced shelter-bed use, and a re-alignment of homelessness services in accordance with the City's 10-Year Housing & Homelessness Plan, it was determined that this overflow shelter was no longer required.
- Elizabeth Fry Kingston Women's Shelter ceased to operate due to challenges of the shared facility and the organization's capacity to deliver the service under the current funding model. As a result, a Request For Proposal was issued and the In From The Cold Shelter at Kingston Home Base Housing was the successful proponent. This shelter has six women-only beds in a segregated sleeping area.
Are more shelters scheduled for closure?
- Not at this point. The goal of the 10-Year plan is to shorten average length of stay and reduce chronic homelessness.
How does the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan reduce the need for shelters?
- Prevention/Diversion programs intervene when people are at risk of becoming homeless – offering assistance mediating with landlords, access to funds to pay utilities or rent arrears, hoarding assistance – all aimed at preventing eviction and avoiding coming to shelter.
- Clients are connected to Housing First/Rapid Re-housing case managers. This is an intensive support. Case managers meet with clients regularly to help them find/maintain housing, or re-house them if housing is not successful. This results in shorter shelter stays.
- Rent assistance helps with affordability so clients with limited income have better access to appropriate housing.
How many people can shelters hold each night?
- Kingston Youth Shelter – 15 youth
- In From The Cold – 35 co-ed adults (6 designated for vulnerable females)
- Lily's Place – 19 (families/single parents with dependent children)
- Kingston Interval House – 25 beds (for women, children and youth experiencing violence)
How many people sleep in these shelters?
Average occupancy for all shelters in 2017 was 67 percent (this number does not include the Kingston Interval House)
Why do people get turned away from shelters?
- Diversion – Shelter staff in the City of Kingston practice a 9-step diversion approach to help clients identify safe alternatives to shelter. This can include mediating with landlords or roommates to remain in their current housing, staying with friends or family, renting a motel room, etc.
- Safety – some clients are on a service restriction for behaviour that poses a serious risk to staff or other clients. Often these clients are permitted to access day services to connect with staff and resources.
- Intoxication – if a client is intoxicated to the point that they are a risk to themselves or others, they are not appropriate for the shelter. These clients belong at a detox facility.
- Medical reasons – shelters are not staffed with healthcare professionals or personal support workers. Clients must be able to meet their needs independently (transfers, bathing, toileting, etc.).
- Refusal to engage – clients must agree to engage in the housing search process and work with case management. The shelter is a temporary option for emergency shelter; it is not housing.
Is the City considering additional shelters during the winter months?
Not at this time. Currently shelter capacity in the winter months does not warrant additional shelter beds.
What does diversion mean?
- The goal of diversion is to ensure that clients have exhausted all of the existing resources before they enter a shelter.
- When clients first try to access shelter, staff will go through a 9-step diversion process to determine whether the client has another option that is safe and appropriate.
- Staff problem-solve with the client to explore all options – staying with friends/family, motel, is it safe to return to their housing, are they allowed to, etc. Staff can help mediate with landlord.
- Staff connect client to appropriate resources – i.e. legal clinic.
- If there is truly no other suitable option, the client will be admitted to shelter. Staff will have a conversation around the expectations that the client will be engaged in searching for housing.
Does the City make warming/cooling centres available to people who are homeless?
In From The Cold is open 24 hours per day. Adult clients who are homeless are able to access day services at In From The Cold.
What do you mean by Housing First and Rapid Re-housing?
- Housing First is a model of service delivery that states there are no pre-requisites for housing. Under the Housing First model, clients do not need to maintain sobriety or engage in treatment programs prior to receiving housing. Securing housing that is safe, affordable and appropriate is the primary goal and doing so as quickly as possible. Once housed, clients work with intensive case management supports to help connect clients with other supports that will help them maintain housing and avoid returning to homelessness.
- Rapid Re-housing and Housing First refer to client acuity (need). Acuity is determined by a SPDAT (Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool) assessment completed with the client and helps determine what level of service is required. Rapid Re-housing is a shorter term support – typically up to six months. Housing First is longer term, often one year or longer, and sometimes indefinite. The housing teams in Kingston are referred to as "Housing First," but serve both client populations.