Together, we can solve chronic homelessness

Homelessness sucks. For everyone. No one wants to be without a place to call home. No one wants to live on the street or not know when their next meal will be. No one wants to see another human living in inhumane conditions. None of us are happy knowing systems are failing the most vulnerable in our community.

Homelessness remains a prevailing and urgent concern in Guelph and Wellington County. Every day and night, as many as 270 members of our community may be homeless and the Guelph and Wellington County By-Name-List typically identifies 140 individuals, by name, who are experiencing homelessness.

You can learn more about measuring community homelessness here.

Homelessness is a system failure. We know a combination of individual and systemic factors result in someone in our community living without a permanent place to call home. In addition to system breakdown, poverty, stigma, and personal trauma also can play a role in someone finding themselves without a home. What doesn’t make someone homeless is being lazy, not wanting to work or wanting to live off the system.

Homelessness is closer than we think. People experiencing homelessness come from all corners of our community. A streak of bad luck or an unexpected life event could put anyone in a similar situation. People living without a home have hopes, dreams and want to contribute to their community. Homelessness limits the personal, social and economic value everyone should have the opportunity to share. 

Homelessness is solvable. For years, our community has been reimagining how to solve homelessness and we have made incredible strides (like Prime Minister shout-out strides!) in reducing the number of people who do not have a home.

We have been so successful that we know — by name — those individuals in our community who do not have a permanent housing solution. We also know that many of these individuals don’t just need a roof over their heads. With strong leadership from the County of Wellington as our region’s lead agency coordinating this work, we’re making significant progress. Just a few examples can be found herehere and here.

More progress is needed. More understanding. More action.

Learn more about Home for Good.

Homelessness in Guelph and Wellington County

The October 20, 2021, Guelph-Wellington community-level measure of sheltered and unsheltered homeless provides a snapshot of the minimum number of individuals experiencing homelessness on a single night. 161 individuals
experiencing homelessness were surveyed. Their responses are reflected in the statistics below. Additional measures identified additional individuals experiencing homelessness who did not complete the survey, for a total point-in-time count of 270.

Permanent Supportive Housing is a Proven Solution

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is an evidenced-based and cost-effective solution for people who are chronically homeless and/or highly vulnerable because of long-term disabilities such as mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, substance use disorders, and chronic health conditions.

PSH can be further understood by considering each component:

Permanent – Leases are held by tenants without limits on length of stay (PSH is not intended to be transitional or temporary).

Supportive – PSH links rental financial assistance with access to individualized, flexible and voluntary supports to address needs and maintain housing stability. Supports are typically provided by on-site staff and can be accessed 24 hours / 7 days a week.

Housing – PSH usually includes independent units, so people have their own private space, with common spaces that are in one home or building, or in a scattered-site arrangement in which tenants who receive support services live through out the community in housing that can be agency-owned or privately owned.