September ROMA Board - Homelessness and service access
September 29, 2023
September ROMA Board Meeting Highlights
Managing Homelessness Encampments
- The off-site, in-person meeting gave the Board an opportunity to hear and see first-hand experience, and innovations in managing homelessness from local experts. Speakers included the Region’s housing staff, Waterloo BIA and Wilmot Mayor Natasha Salonen.
- Waterloo Mayor Dorothy McCabe shared how the City is working with the Region’s housing department to handle homeless encampments in public parks following a high-profile court case. This included a tour of the region’s managed encampment. The site houses 50 or so residents in small modular shelters that provide safety, security and privacy. There is round-the-clock staff and a variety of supports to help people get off the streets for good.
- Key learnings: Peer mentorship for those experiencing homelessness creates a stronger level of trust and is critical to success. Collaboration is also critical, with cooperation between the municipality, non-profit service agencies, and BIA/Business organizations.
Access to services
- Preliminary feedback from ROMA’s member survey confirms that key barriers to accessing services include the lack of family doctors and healthcare professionals, limited mental health services and absence of transportation services.
- ROMA is using this information, combined with other research and consultations, to create strategic recommendations to address barriers to health services that it will present at the 2024 ROMA Conference this January.
- Access to services is just one of the priorities outlined in ROMA’s 2022 Plan for Action: Opportunities for Rural Ontario in a Post-COVID World.
2024 ROMA Conference: Closer to Home
ROMA's 2024 Conference will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Toronto, from January 21 to 23, 2024. The theme, Closer to Home, speaks ROMA's continued policy and advocacy work on access to services. Early Bird rates are available until Friday, October 27, 2023.
To learn more about the September meeting, please watch the ROMA Board Chair Video.
*DISCLAIMER: Any documents attached are final versions. ROMA assumes no responsibility for any discrepancies that may have been transmitted with this electronic version. The printed versions of the documents stand as the official record.