Welcome to the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry

The existence of poverty is shameful!
To be poor is not.

We advocate with and for people living in poverty.

We strive to educate and create systemic change..

 

The number of people experiencing houselessness in Regina is clearly growing. The point-in-time count of 488 in 2021 is local data documenting this issue. This is a call to action for Regina City Council to find operational funding to begin “to solve homelessness” using the Housing First model. This is not a new concept – City Council discussed Housing First during 2021 and 2022 budget reviews. It is important for the health of everyone in a community that all people are able to have their most essential, fundamental human needs met, and this action is a concrete way to move towards that reality.1

Housing First is defined as “a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness that involves moving people who experience homelessness into independent and permanent housing as quickly as possible, without preconditions, and then providing them with additional supports and services as needed.” The goal of ending homelessness is to ensure housing stability, which means people have a fixed address and housing that is appropriate (affordable, safe, adequately maintained, accessible and suitable in size), and includes required income, services and supports to enhance their well-being and reduce the risk that they will ever become homeless.

Housing First approach can be applied to help end homelessness for a household who became homeless due to a temporary personal or financial crisis and has limited-service needs, only needing help accessing and securing permanent housing. At the same time, Housing First has been found to be particularly effective approach to end homelessness for high need populations, such as chronically homeless individuals. It is very flexible system. This is about focusing both on prevention and on sustainable exits from houselessness.

Why Regina needs to move on this plan to address homelessness:

  • Housing instability encompasses a number of challenges, such as having trouble paying rent, overcrowding, moving frequently, or spending the bulk of household income on housing.
  • Inadequate housing conditions are associated with both physical and mental illnesses through direct and indirect pathways (i.e. chronic disease). Poor housing is bad for your mental health.
  • Living on the street or in crowded homeless shelters is extremely stressful and made worse by being exposed to communicable disease e.g. TB, respiratory illnesses, flu, hepatitis, etc. (acute hospital beds and doctor services), violence, malnutrition, and harmful weather exposure.

Housing First is an important component of interventions to end homelessness:

  • In 2011 the American Society of Addiction Medicine joined the American Medical Association, defining addiction as a chronic brain disorder (an illness), not a behavioural problem, or just the result of making bad choices.
  • Stable housing is a prerequisite for effective psychiatric and substance abuse treatment and for improving quality of life. Housing first is part of the treatment – illness can be better addressed once this need is fulfilled. 
  • Everyone is Home: A Five-Year Plan to End Chronic and Episodic Homelessness in Regina 2 (endorsed by Regina City Council in 2018) offers a plan to meet and overcome the challenges facing people experiencing homelessness in Regina.
  • On December 15, 2022 over 6 dozen presentations were made to Regina City Council recounting many real stories illustrating the need for operational funding to “solve homelessness” throughout the City using a housing first, supportive housing model. 3

The dividend for Regina introducing a Housing-First initiative:

  • The introduction of a Housing First program in Regina would fill a significant gap in services for homeless individuals linked to illness, including mental illness and chronic substance use disorders.
  • Many studies show that supportive housing successfully interrupts the cycle between institutionalization and homelessness.4
  • Housing First programs provide a pathway out of homelessness for those who reach out, with an 80% housing retention rate.            

References:

1 https://www.cjme.com/2022/11/24/789378/
2http://endhomelessnessregina.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/P2EH-Full-Final-0610.pdf
3https://www.regina.ca/export/sites/Regina.ca/city-government/budget-finance/.galleries/pdfs/2023-24-Budget-Highlights.pdf
4Supportive Housing Helps Vulnerable People Live and Thrive in the Community (2016)