Halifax Housing Help
We are an organization that is driven by the needs of single people who have few alternative supports and sometimes having multiple needs. Our Halifax Housing Help program is an innovative effort at housing placement and supportive housing and eviction prevention particularly for those service users who have multiple needs.
We take a housing first approach where we accept tenants (and work with participants) with very few entry demands in order to lessen barriers to individuals who have the most difficulty obtaining and maintaining stability in their housing.
- The supportive element attached to the housing first model is essential to increasing the rate of housing retention.
We have found that a number of our tenants and some participants housed elsewhere who are receiving supports from our staff, have difficulties in meeting even very minimum standards of housekeeping and other home maintaining tasks. They often have been cycled though the shelter system, obtaining precarious housing, being evicted and back to shelters.
We have been successful in stopping this cycle by working with the individual. This work can involve going in and completely cleaning and organizing an apartment. We accomplish this by using our own tenants with a peer support approach that will work where nothing else will.
There are many examples where this has been successful and has resulted in individuals…
establishing a stable home
- breaking the shelter cycle
- addressing health needs
- saving inappropriate use of other support and health care systems
- improving the quality of life for the individual
We always work toward empowering individuals to eventually be able to maintain their apartment themselves with minimum support.
In August 2008 Metro Non-Profit Housing Association in partnership with Direction 180, a community-based low-threshold methadone program came together to establish Halifax Housing Help (HHH) as a unique response to the desperate need of single individuals who require access to housing supports and eviction prevention, and who have experienced homelessness or been at serious risk of homelessness.
Since 2008, HHH has increased the number of participants providing trusteeship to over 300 individuals and housing supports and eviction prevention to over 200 individuals. The increased capability of HHH, with full-time staffing and increased ability to provide intensive case management, enables participants to receive a vast array of services, such supports in relation to intensive case management, advocacy, and collaboration between community and governmental agencies. HHH is also providing referrals to needed services that the community can offer beyond the scope of the program, such as intensive mental health services, brain injury programs, and community clubhouses.
The past years few years witnessed many changes for Halifax Housing Help as the Homelessness Partnering Strategy extended the grant funding to HHH to March 2015, with additional funding for accounting services to provide support to the trustee program.
HHH created a unique one-day event for individuals in the community who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness, with the community initiative Halifax Connects. HHH represented the community as the central organization that can provide connections for clients to shelter, intermediate housing, and long-term housing options such as Killam Properties, 250 Homes, Metro Regional Housing Association, and Metro Non-Profit Housing Association.
Halifax Housing Help continues its involvement with the Out of the Cold Shelter, providing resources to the individuals staying there, along with assistance in finding housing and navigating through the Department of Community Services. The program has also responded in emergency situations such as the closing of rooming houses and apartments, one due to an oil spill, one as the result of a fire and another due to flooding .
HHH has presented for multiple organizations, such as MOSH, Correctional Service of Canada, Dartmouth and Halifax Parole office, and Auburn Drive High School. Halifax Housing Help has been developing formal policies to identify and track the barriers participants face in housing, as well as developing and implementing formal policies for intensive case management.