HOMELESSNESS ACTION PLAN
In 2015 SHIP began working with the United Way to create Saskatoon’s Homelessness Action Plan. This Plan was built on the combined wisdom of the previous community Plans on homelessness.
Saskatoon’s Homelessness Action Plan calls for a coordinated system response that will involve increased prevention efforts, teamwork between emergency and transitional supports, policy reforms and a serious investment in affordable housing options across the spectrum.
SHIP has taken a facilitation role in implementing the Plan in our community. In February of 2017, we hired a Director for the Plan. With this Plan we have developed a solid roadmap so we can begin the journey towards changing how we address homelessness.
A major part of year 1 of the Homelessness Action Plan was review and assessment of current system capacity and ease of access. We also worked to invest in the expansion of housing placement programs through both Housing First and Rapid Rehousing.
Through our taskforces we met with both front-line workers and community members with lived-experience. Many of their perspectives will shape how we move forward from year 2 - 5. As we move forward with the Plan, we continue to invest in best practices in harm reduction models.
To respond to the needs of the Action Plan, SHIP also had to expand the activities it undertakes. A new Strategic Plan was adopted and we have worked to expand the Board of Directors to play an essential role in moving the Plan forward. These Teams continue to include a wide array of communit y members and volunteers to ensure a rich perspective when addressing the needs of the community. These taskforces focus on addressing their specific theme as it relates to each of the four priorities of the action plan. Additional committees will be struck as the need is identified.
A multi-sectoral approach is essential to achieving the collaboration necessary to meet the goals of the Plan. Throughout 2017-18 SHIP worked to inspire change in our community and embolden everyone to work together towards a common vision.
ACTION PLAN ACTIVITIES
STRENGTHENING HOUSING PLACEMENT & SUPPORT PROGRAMS
THE SOLUTION TO HOMELESSNESS IS HOUSING
3 NEW TASK FORCES WE LAUNCHED:
The Housing Team meets bi-monthly and brings together team leads and case managers from all Housing First and Rapid Rehousing programs in our city. This Housing Team Meeting has been instrumental in building collaboration between the different Housing First Teams, and to talk together about the “big picture” issues, system coordination and systemic challenges with moving people out of homelessness.
A Shelter Group attended by Shelter Managers also meets bi-monthly. They discuss shared challenges and successes serving those needing a temporary but immediate place to stay for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Indigenous Cultural Competency Task force
SHIP also began hosting an Indigenous Cultural Competency Task force. This task force is attended by indigenous leaders in both the housing and homelessness sectors in our community. In Saskatoon, Indigenous people are over represented within the homelessness population. There is a lot of work to do to reduce the historic trends caused by colonialism and the legacy of residential schools. Saskatoon has strong Indigenous organizations working in the housing and homelessness sectors. There are also many non-indigenous organizations that are determined that their work in the homelessness serving sector be informed by the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This taskforce has begun to impact our community by making strong recommendations for both indigenous and non-indigenous homeless serving organizations. They have built on the work done by the definition of Indigenous Homelessness, and will be meeting with its author, Jesse Thistle, this fall.