April 28, 2015

Gathering the facts around homelessness

The Ottawa Mission is fortunate to have several community partners that also help people who are homeless in our community. We are also a member of the Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness, which brings together agency partners to inspire action, to generate knowledge and to inform a community-wide effort to achieve an end to homelessness.

Earlier this month, the ATEH orchestrated a city wide initiative to try and survey as many people as possible who are homeless – part of the national “20,000 Homes” initiative. Teams of trained volunteers and skilled professionals, including some from The Ottawa Mission, took to the streets and inside shelters to conduct the VI-SPDAT survey (which stands for Vulnerability Index and Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool).

In total, 461 individuals who were homeless were surveyed, enabling all of us to develop a better understanding of the needs within our community.  Of those surveyed, 71% were male, 25% were female, 1% were transgender and 3% identified as other. 39 people surveyed identified as being a past member of the Canadian Armed Forces and the average total length of time on the street or in a shelter was 3.7 years.

Over the coming weeks, the ATEH will use the momentum and information of this initiative to further fuel community action towards housing solutions. The more information we can gather, the closer we can all get to helping everyone in need find a home they deserve.