Experiencing Homelessness: the 10th report Card on Homelessness in greater Moncton, 2017 available now
The GMHSC launched Experiencing Homelessness: the 10th Report Card on Homelessness in Greater Moncton at a Community Breakfast this morning.
7% decrease in Moncton shelter use in 2016 looks promising however those accessing have harder time finding and keeping housing. Will potential impact of government initiatives result in impact needed to see real change?
On the surface, shelter use numbers for Greater Moncton look promising with a 7% decrease in individuals accessing these services in 2016. There were 759 unique individuals who stayed in a shelter during 2016, compared to 817 a year earlier. An additional 117 women fled domestic violence.
These statistics can be found in the 10th Report Card on Homelessness in Greater Moncton, which will be launched at a Community Breakfast for the Homeless on Monday, April 3rd at Saint George’s Anglican Church, 51 Church Street in downtown Moncton starting at 7:30am.
This decrease in the numbers of homeless individuals is a positive step, however it is tempered by the fact that those who are still accessing shelter services are staying for longer periods of time and returning more often. This finding speaks to increased difficulty in finding affordable accommodations in Greater Moncton. In fact, 5.8% of individuals used the shelters 10 or more times in 2016, which is up from 4.16% in 2015. Research shows that these individuals will be most successful in Housing First model programs where they receive support services in their homes. This approach however relies on access to affordable housing and funding for support services.
Greater Moncton did see an increase of 36 new rental subsidies in 2016 and is slated to receive more in 2017 thanks to a Federal/Provincial agreement from last year’s Federal budget. However with 1562 people waiting for subsidized housing in the region as of the end of February 2017, these numbers are a drop in the bucket.
There is promise on the horizon with both the Federal and Provincial government set to launch housing strategies in the next year, as well as the City of Moncton focusing on Housing Affordability through its Social Inclusion Plan. It remains to be seen however if the investment and commitments will be sufficient and appropriately targeted to meet Moncton’s particular reality.
As the Hub region of the province, Greater Moncton is one of the few areas with a population increase which has put pressure on vacancy rates and increased rents. At the same time the region has an increase of individuals receiving Income Assistance while the province a whole has seen a decrease. The fact that income rates have remained unchanged for this service means that demand for NB Housing subsidies is also among the highest in our region.
Greater Moncton needs targeted investments and policy commitments to meet our unique reality within the province in terms of affordable housing and homelessness. The Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee (GMHSC) is ready to work with all levels of government to see Housing Strategies and policies make the greatest impact possible.