Windsor

Windsor's homeless now known by name

Members of Family Services Windsor-Essex and Housing and Children's Services provided the report to city council.

'You know your neighbours by name and you start to treat them in a different way'

Kris Santin said he was homeless for 11 months before the Downtown Mission helped him find a home. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

A final report researching homelessness in the city has put a name to the 201 people living on the streets of Windsor.

Members of Family Services Windsor-Essex and Housing and Children's Services recently provided the report to city council. They say 201 is now the benchmark number for understanding how services in the city are working to help its most vulnerable.

The Point in Time Count report has been transformed into a by-names prioritized list, which provides every homeless person's name and background to services that they may access.

The report was compiled with the help of several front-line service organizations including the Downtown Mission.

Kris Santin, who said he was homeless for 11 months, said the list is already helping homeless people. In his case, working with the mission helped him find a home and get off drugs.

"Here, I got clean. They [helped me get] methodone, so this place really helped me," Santin said.

He said the report was a great idea, but added it's important for service providers in Windsor to continue to follow up with people on the list after helping them.

Amanda Stephens, who suffers from mental illness, was identified as homeless during a survey conducted in Windsor back in April. (Alex Brockman/CBC) (Alex Brockman/CBC)

That's something Kelly Goz, the coordinator of Housing Administration and Development, believes her organization will now be able to do.

The list will allow service providers to prioritize based on a person's needs, she said, not by the time the signed up.

"You know your neighbours by name and you start to treat them in a different way," Goz said. "There's more of an accountability when you know someone, who is homeless, by their name. You know their situation."

Goz said many chronically homeless people need to have a place to call their own before they are able to seek help for other issues, which can include trauma, mental health struggles and addictions.

The city expects to share the list of names with front-line service providers in April with the hope of understanding the background of every homeless person.

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