Good Practice

The new accountability framework for housing and homelessness services of which these local plans are a critical component is very flexible and based on the principle of improved outcomes for people. It is therefore beneficial to examine the different approaches taken by other Sevice Managers.

Review existing local plans and strategies

As early as possible, review the existing local plans or strategies that relate to housing and homelessness. Many Service Managers anticipated the increasing responsibility for local decision makers to begin long term planning for the housing system. Often these strategies focused a particular element of the housing continuum, such as homelessness. These existing strategies will form a good foundation for the new consolidated local plans since much of the research can be brought forward to the present and the older strategies will have a set of action plans which can be reviewed and evaluated in the context of the Service Managers new broader mandate.

The Library on the website has many examples of the existing Service Manager plans which can be reviewed for ideas and approaches.

Look at models from elsewhere

There is a wide diversity of plans using a rich diversity of approaches to long term planning for the housing system, including some on the Resource Centre website. Reading or scanning a few will help you develop some clear early ideas on the scope of your plan and what you think your plan should be like.

The City of Vancouver has an excellent example of a comprehensive housing strategy wih the Vancouver Housing and Homelessness Strategy and simplified short term action plan Vancouver – Housing Homelessness Action Plan 2012-2014which focus on the short term commitments

Another interesting example is Northumberland UK Housing Strategy 2010, which is a small mostly rural jurisdiction with apparently limited resources who have produced a plan with impressive breadth and level of analysis

Consider a housing charter

If there is concern that there may not be suffecient committment in the community to develop a comprehensive housing strategy you may want to consider a housing charter. A housing charter is a commitment by the key stakeholders to the principles and high level outcomes for the housing plan.

A good example is the Toronto – Housing Charter

Relation to other plans or strategies

Determine the relationship that other plans – such as municipal official plans will have. What is the relationship to the Community Plan under the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) if one exists in your community?

What is the relationship to any existing affordable housing plans/strategies?

What is the relationship to the Official Plan and any related policy processes or reviews?

Understanding interdependencies

With continued discussion and commitments to facilitate system intrgration, especially with respect to human services it is important that Service Managers be aware of the connections to other systems and the interdependancies of these systems. It is important that communication and flows of information from all research and analysis of community needs and aspirations is developed with awareness of these linkages. Some of the more important interdependancies are:

  • Improving health through housing – housing and related support services can help to meet some of the issues prioritised by public health, health and social care partners, in a way that can be cost effective and increasingly preventative.
  • Housing and local economic development – The impact of the housing sector on the local economy is well understood. Investments in the residential sector have a major impact in local economic activity, and a good supply of affordable housing is a critical factor in attracting new businesses to community. Service Managers can be important partners and contributors to local economic developers and can play a significant role in including housing understanding to the economic growth agenda, and in reflecting the impacts of economic plans on local housing assessments and Local Plans.
  • Schools and education – There is increasing awareness of the adverse impact of poor and overcrowded housing on children’s development and educational achievement. Adequate housing should be considered in terms of its potential impacts on the local education sytems.