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Bright Spot: Moncton reduces chronic homelessness by 10% amid an ongoing pandemic

March 9, 2022 - 8:32 am / News

A strong focus on quality data and commitment to Coordinated Access led this Built for Zero Canada community in New Brunswick to a 10% reduction. This blog is a part of our Bright Spot series highlighting outstanding work in ending homelessness happening across Canada.

Amidst an ongoing pandemic, Moncton, New Brunswick continues to drive forward with the goal of reaching and sustaining Functional Zero Chronic Homelessness by 2023. With their recent success in reducing chronic homelessness by 10%, this Built for Zero Canada community is making significant strides, not only in moving tenants from homelessness to housing, but also in retaining that housing for a longer term by driving down evictions. 

“There is a big difference between managing homelessness and ending it,” says Dawn Wheadon, Affordable Housing Specialist at the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee. “Creating steps and following them moves people into housing faster, but once someone is housed, ongoing support and collaboration becomes necessary for success,” Dawn explains. 

The key initiatives that led to their success include a strong commitment to Coordinated Access and the By-Name-List process, along with a specific focus on quality data and breaking the problem of ending homelessness into smaller goals. 

Methods driving success

Moncton’s Coordinated Access team, along with the commitment of front-line staff, health authority, social housing, and an increasing engagement with shelters all played an integral role in their success.  

“We have engaged service providers who are always willing to jump in when asked and wrap services around people on our By-Name-List,” Dawn says. 

The strengthening and growth in partnerships were critical to the recent success of this southeastern community in New Brunswick. “We’ve strengthened our relationships with Veterans Affairs Canada, the RCMP, and a new relationship is being forged with the Tenancy Tribunal. We’ve invested in a new Landlord Liaison, which allows us to better focus on bridging the gap between our sector and landlords.”  

Partners have been essential in adapting to the ongoing pandemic. Moncton seeks to continue strengthening these existing partnerships as well as forging and developing new ones in support of their journey to sustain their current success and reach a 50% reduction in chronic homelessness. 

“We are currently focusing on strengthening alignment with services under the provincial ministry of Social Development. For example, we need to more efficiently access assessments for those experiencing homelessness that may need Special Care homes, known in Moncton as Adult Residential Facilities.” 

Challenges in meeting the next chronic homelessness reduction milestone

Celebrating small milestones along the way and learning from them to leverage greater success is key to ending homelessness. To do this, there is a need for Moncton to further engage the community by sharing their successes and goals.  

“Currently, we do not share our milestones with the community. “We need to recognize current realities, but also to celebrate successes along the way and offer hope that ending homelessness is possible.”  

To reach a 50% reduction, the Coordinated Access team and direct support staff, will seek to further engage with data and shared goals in ending homelessness.  “We need increased commitment at all levels to a data-informed approach. We need to shift to a change-mindset where there is a willingness to let go of old strategies that simply manage homelessness in favour of new strategies that end homelessness,” Dawn explains.  

 Sustaining Reductions Long-Term

“More efforts and focus still goes into managing homelessness rather than ending it,” Dawn states.  

To maintain their success and continue to make further reductions, Moncton hopes to strengthen their commitment from leaders to target housing and support resources to the By-Name-List. “We also need an increased community understanding of the definition of homelessness, along with the By-Name-List Prevention and Diversion strategies.”  

“Breaking the By-Name-List down into specific cohorts and focusing on solutions for smaller populations at a time is a strategy that works. When you focus on a smaller sub-set of the data and set targets, you see results.” 

Collaboration and commitment are necessary for success. Moncton intends to place a strong focus on collaborative and continual work within the data to know where efforts should be placed moving forward. 

This blog is a part of our Bright Spot series highlighting outstanding work in ending homelessness happening across Canada.