Safe at Home is a whole community response to the urgent issue of homelessness in Whitehorse. This Plan is an attempt to highlight what needs to happen to end and prevent homelessness, and to support better community coordination to provide better care for vulnerable people. This plan is about the whole community, all of us, working together and saying, ‘these are the necessary actions to end homelessness in Whitehorse’, it advocates for more effective community coordination to provide better care for vulnerable people.
Community champions realized that a solution would require a different kind of approach. The Plan, developed by a Working Group reflecting the diversity of Whitehorse, includes four governments, community organizations, and people with lived experience. This Working Group is a ‘different’ approach, both a challenge and a strength. As member Jack Bogaard observed: “we are the little group that has come so far”.
The 5th Avenue temporary low barrier shelter that was opened February 2017 for three months speaks to how quickly resources can be amassed to meet urgent community needs. There was an alignment of people and a willingness to try something new, which led to real action that has helped some of Whitehorse’s most vulnerable people.
Safe at Home is not a plan for any one government or organization to implement alone, and not all participants or decision-makers need to agree with all the identified actions. Rather, this plan is a guide to determine respective and coordinated courses of action, rooted in community values, personal and expert experiences, and the best available research.