January 22, 2016

Hostels to Homes Overview

SSHA launched the Hostels 2 Homes Pilot (H2HP) in 2016 with the goal of supporting long-term emergency shelter users to move to permanent housing. H2HP was intended as a one year pilot program to develop a Housing First service model targeted at clients staying in shelters long-term (more than 18 months) and learn more about the housing and support needs of this client group.

There are two main components to H2HP:

  • Housing access supports: Three housing access teams engage and assess eligible clients, and provide intensive case management to develop a housing plan and secure housing.
  • Follow-up supports: Clients are then referred to follow-up workers who provide case management supports for up to one year to stabilize their housing.

Since March 2016, over 200 clients enrolled in the pilot, 70 of whom have moved to permanent housing.

We would like to thank everyone who was involved in supporting this innovative pilot program to achieve these successful housing outcomes for a group of very vulnerable clients within our shelter system. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the excellent partnership demonstrated between shelter providers across the system and the H2H staff teams.

H2H Housing Access Wrap Up

After 16 months, the housing access phase of H2HP is coming to an end, September 1, 2017. The pilot was resourced with in-kind staff re-assigned from existing programs on a temporary basis.

Since January 2017, H2HP housing access teams have been winding down enrollment of new clients and focusing on supporting existing clients to find housing. As of September 2017, H2HP housing access staff will return to their previous roles.

Transition plans and ongoing supports will be identified for existing H2HP clients who are still actively involved in their housing search.

Continuing Housing Access and Follow-Up Supports

Follow-up support teams will continue to support housed H2HP clients for up to one year as they stabilize in their housing.

New and existing clients in the shelter system can continue to access housing allowances and follow-up supports through Coordinated Access.

Next Steps

SSHA believes in investing in evidence based practices. H2HP was an important opportunity to build local evidence on effective Housing First approaches to supporting long-term shelter clients.

A critical element of the Hostels to Homes pilot was evaluation. SSHA is conducting an evaluation of the pilot implementation and client outcomes, as well as working with researchers from the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospitals to evaluate the Housing Support Assessment Tool (HSAT) used in H2HP.

The evaluations will draw on input from clients, housing workers, follow-up supports and shelter providers. Shelter providers will be invited to provide feedback at a focus group in September. An invitation with details will be circulated in the coming weeks.

Both the HSAT evaluation and the H2HP process and outcomes evaluation will be completed by the end of 2018 and results will be shared with participants and partners across the housing stability system. SSHA is committed to using the results to guide future investments and inform the further development and roll-out of Housing First service models in shelters and across housing stability services.