Recently, the Mississauga Library System was awarded $122,524 in federal funding. This project was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). Delivered nationally, the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream of HPS supports the development of innovative approaches to prevent and reduce homelessness. Last year, the City submitted a proposal through the Library for the development of a pilot project called Open Window Hub. The program is intended to help homeless individuals in Mississauga.
“On behalf of the City of Mississauga and Members of Council, we welcome this important city-building investment by the Federal government that will assist at-risk individuals and homeless people,” Mayor Bonnie Crombie said. “Council and staff remain committed to doing everything we can to work with all governments and community partners to elevate the quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens. Funding commitments like the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness contribution will strengthen the hand of frontline professionals by providing important resources that will allow them to help those in need rebuild their lives.”
The Open Window Hub will:
• promote inclusiveness of vulnerable youth and adults;
• provide outreach services in the library;
• allow the homeless to work with a professional to prepare plans to address their situation; and
• offer a referral service that connects those at risk or those who are homeless with community agencies that provide tools and resources for empowerment.
“Open Window Hub utilizes best practices from library programs focused on the homeless population. It will also help ensure partnerships are developed and maintained between the Library and other service organizations,” said Rose Vespa, Director of Library Services, Mississauga Library System, City of Mississauga. “Funding such as this allows us to address a gap in service. We will create innovative day-time library programs that provide outreach and links to services for the homeless population they can easily access through our libraries.”
In addition to the project, a Homeless Prevention Outreach Worker will be hired to support and empower homeless and at-risk individuals. They will develop treatment and housing plans to overcome homelessness and connect those in need to necessary services. Vespa added “This new position is vital. The Homeless Prevention Outreach Worker will connect directly with homeless clients while helping our libraries and staff to remove barriers to services and to increase social inclusion.”
“The Government of Canada is proud to support the City of Mississauga through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy program’s Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream,” said the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “The City’s cutting-edge Working Together to Serve Homeless Customers in New Ways project aims to have a Homeless Prevention Outreach Worker reach out and provide support to local homeless individuals who use the library system. This project is a prime example of how such a unique outreach program can effectively explore innovative ways to help prevent and reduce homelessness and make a real difference in the lives of community homeless populations.”
For more information on the Mississauga Library System and its programs and services, visit mississauga.ca/library.
Through the Library’s 2014 Master Plan, the Library continues to provide high-quality spaces that are safe, welcoming, flexible and foster connections among residents of all ages, interests and backgrounds. The Library is working to ensure that its spaces are accessible, adaptable and responsive to changing needs.
According to the Mississauga Food Bank, the issue of homelessness is closely linked to the issue of poverty. In Mississauga, there are more than 182,000 people that live below the poverty line.