Campaign looks to end chronic homelessness in Waterloo region by 2020
All In 2020 aims to find housing for more 250 people who have been homeless for at least six months
More than 250 people who are homeless in Waterloo region could have a place to live in the next two years.
That's the goal of All In 2020, a campaign to end chronic homelessness in the region that was launched on Thursday as part of National Housing Day.
"Our goal is to really get everybody who has been experiencing homelessness the longest with the highest needs," coordinator Lynn Macaulay said.
The campaign is looking to raise $700,000 to house people who are considered chronically homeless, or who have been homeless for at least six months out of the past year.
Macaulay said they are also inviting the whole community to become part of the solution. She said there are a number of organizations in the region who work directly with people experiencing homelessness.
"What All In 2020 is about is raising awareness, raising resources to support that work so it can happen faster and more effectively. And we can in fact save lives and enhance the safety and wellbeing of our community at the same time."
Campaign provides hope
Brenda Luscott has seen the effects of homelessness first hand. Her son Colin Plant died in 2017 after many years of dealing with addiction and living on the street.
Plant was living in supportive housing at the time of his death and became actively involved in helping people find affordable housing.
In 2011 Plant received the Outstanding Volunteer Housing Champion award. But Luscott said he continued to struggle with his addiction to alcohol and his health eventually deteriorated.
"My son was really fortunate to move into supportive housing...but it had a single population, which were other people who were homeless," she said.
"The idea of him being able to live in a different kind of community, with many different types of people, I think that might have saved him."
Luscott said the campaign gives her hope that effective housing solutions can be found to help people move forward with their lives.
'Beginning the end of homelessness'
All In 2020 is being led by the Homelessness Housing Umbrella, a network of organizations working to end homelessness and create affordable housing in the region.
Macaulay said even if the campaign reaches its goal, the work won't be over in the community.
"What we're doing is beginning the end of homelessness," she said.
"We're really hoping that this is the first phase of a very long term community commitment to ensuring that everyone in Waterloo Region has adequate and affordable housing."