The Housing to Health Program (H2H) seeks to enable comprehensive services for individuals experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness in York Region. The program is led by the collaborative efforts of Blue Door Shelters, LOFT Crosslinks Housing & Support Services, the Krasman Centre and supported by various other York Region agencies. The program works with individuals experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness regardless of the contributing factors, with special focus on individuals currently not connected to or not wanting to connect with formal services.
Housing To Health Mandate
- To help house vulnerable people experiencing homelessness and, at the same time, provide a range of supports to improve the individual’s quality of life and increase the potential for long-term successful tenancies.
- The H2H program uses a Housing First approach, a best practice in Canada and throughout the world, that provides immediate access to housing for people experiencing homelessness. At the same time, H2H provides wraparound supports to help promote successful tenancies and overall wellbeing.
actively housed since January 2016
HPS Definition of Chronic and Episodic Homelessness
- Chronically homeless refers to individuals, often with disabling conditions (e.g. chronic physical or mental illness, substance abuse problems), who are currently homeless and have been homeless for six months or more in the past year (i.e., have spent more than 180 cumulative nights in a shelter or place not fit for human habitation).
- Episodically homeless refers to individuals, often with disabling conditions, who are currently homeless and have experienced three or more episodes of homelessness in the past year (of note, episodes are defined as periods when a person would be in a shelter or place not fit for human habitation, and after at least 30 days, would be back in the shelter or inhabitable location).
Housing to Health’s guiding principles are that: every individual deserves safe housing, and will be met ‘where they are’ without housing readiness requirements. Program participation will be voluntary; services will be offered using flexible, non-judgmental, and stigma alleviating approaches. This collaborative endeavour provides under-served individuals with opportunities for housing stability and movement towards positive health outcomes.
All three collaborating agencies have a long-standing history of supporting people with housing needs and helping individuals meet goals of self-sufficiency.
Housing to Health staff is proud to have assisted with housing 25 program participants since January 2016.
Top row from left – Geoff Nelson (Wilfrid Laurier University), Wally Czech (Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness), Steve Keeble (LOFT), Susan Dobson (Krasman Centre), Sam Tsemberis (Pathways to Housing), Radha Bhardwaj (Blue Door Shelters), Anand Kansara (Krasman Centre). Bottom row from left – Ingrid Teunissen (Blue Door Shelters), Lori Kerr (LOFT), Whitney Joy Howard (Pathways to Housing), Alex Cheng (Blue Door Shelters).