Red Deer has been using a housing first approach to address homelessness for the past 5 years. Their approach is to provide chronic and episodic homeless individuals with stable housing first, then provide wrap-around support services based on individual needs. Clients must agree to work on being good tenants, have regular visits from support workers and arrange direct rent payments from their income sources. Services such as medication support, drug or alcohol treatment and counselling are available, but are not pre-requisites for housing first. They also have modified housing first programs for individuals who have the goal of living a sober lifestyle. Their focus has been on the following areas:
1. Rapid Re-Housing – individuals with moderately acute needs require case management supports to assist with housing and lifestyle stability; otherwise they may cycle in and out of homelessness.
2. Intensive Case Management – a supportive housing service delivery model that helps homeless clients develop housing plans to ensure housing stability and assist them to achieving optimal quality of life and community living.
3. Scattered-site Intensive Case Management – some individuals with higher acuity levels benefit from integration into existing buildings and neighbourhoods with an intensive case management care structure in order to maintain housing.
4. Permanent Supportive Housing – an intensive model of housing and services designed to serve individuals experiencing homelessness for long periods of time. These people may be chronically homeless and may have complex and likely co-occurring issues. Staff work in the housing to provide support 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
5. Permanent Supported Housing – as with permanent supportive housing, this housing type provides comprehensive support services for complex individuals experiencing homelessness. However, the delivery model is different: there are no support service staff on site. The support staff come into the housing unit on a regular basis.
They will explore ways to integrate HPS funding with the current provincial OSSI funding to provide a continuum of service for homeless individuals. The intention is to use HPS funds to apply a housing first approach for the group with the next highest needs: individuals who have been homeless (in a shelter or living on the street) for 3 to 6 months and individuals who experienced two or more episodes of homelessness over a year.
Since the community is already using a housing first approach for provincial OSSI funding we will move to immediate implementation of housing first with HPS funding. Funds will be set aside to cover furniture and repairs. The amount will be determined on a project to project basis.