As part of the Whole of Community System Response, the City of London will see 10 to 15 Hubs and 600 highly supportive housing units in place, beginning with a goal of five Hubs and 100 highly supportive housing units by the end of 2023.
Hubs will support individuals to move safely inside, become stabilized, access wrap-around supports, be connected to the right housing and receive support to stay housed. Every interaction in a Hub is an active and intentional effort to enable an individual’s next steps toward supportive housing.
Council has approved the building of a network of Hubs (10-15) that will be located throughout the city, offer a common set of functions and direct connections to the right supports at the right time for our most marginalized residents. These Hubs will serve 25 to 30 people per location, depending on the acuity and needs of the population. These Hubs will be open every day, around the clock, staffed by frontline support workers and a management team. It is estimated that each Hub will require six employees during daytime hours and five during the evening. These Hubs will prioritize couples and families, Indigenous peoples, medically complex individuals, women and female-identifying individuals, and youth. These Hubs are purpose-built spaces that optimize access, facilitate privacy and dignity, and ensure positive neighbourhood relations.
Services and Programming
Staff will be able to provide patrons with an extensive list of services and programming at Hubs thanks to the collaboration with a number of community partners, giving users access to immediate basic needs and stabilization support, including:
- Food, showers, clothing;
- Caseworkers for housing help;
- Help accessing Ontario Works and employment programs;
- Judicial services;
- Medical staff, including a nurse and consulting physicians;
- Access to acute and primary care;
- Transitional and respite beds and
- Transportation to appointments, as required.
Choosing the right location for a Hub is a critical part of the Hubs Implementation Plan. A wide variety of potential location criteria has been considered, based on input from the Hubs implementation table, business and development reference tables and meetings with Business Improvement Areas, and based on community engagements with community members.
Following Council endorsement of the Hubs Implementation Plan in July 2023, the City began a competitive procurement process to identify lead agencies and proposed locations for the first five Hubs.
Engagement opportunities on London’s Whole of Community System Response to the health and homelessness crisis continued at the end of August, giving Londoners more opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback on the Hubs Implementation Plan. Residents could attend one of five in-person sessions taking place between August 30 and September 7. Feedback was also collected through this webpage.
A report was then prepared by the City about health and homelessness and the procurement process to identify lead agencies to operate Hubs. The report can be reviewed online.
The report was discussed at a Special Meeting of the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee on September 25 and then at a Council meeting on October 5, 2023. At this Council meeting, London City Council approved the first three Hubs, marking a significant leap forward in addressing the health and homelessness crisis. The approval of these first Hubs marks the next step in the implementation of the Health and Homelessness Whole of Community Response and a new, system-wide approach to ending homelessness in our city. A recording of this meeting can be viewed below on this webpage.
The Hubs are designed to provide wrap-around care and a host of services for unsheltered individuals with the most complex needs, focusing on three of the priority populations identified in the Hubs Implementation Plan: Indigenous individuals, youth, and women and female-identifying individuals. As comprehensive centres, the Hubs will offer around-the-clock services, encompassing supports such as food, shower, laundry facilities, rest areas, income support, integrated care planning, healthcare, and a suite of services designed to help individuals transition into stable housing.
The first Hubs are as follows:
- Atlohsa Family Healing Services Hub: This Hub, aimed at supporting Indigenous individuals, will be located at 550 Wellington Road. Scheduled to open in December 2023, it will provide wrap-around services for 10 respite beds and 18 transitional rooms.
- Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) Hub: Geared towards assisting youth in need, this Hub will be situated on two sites: the first, at 800 Commissioners Road East, will offer services for 6 respite beds and 9 transitional rooms. The second site will provide accessible primary care and will open at Joan’s Place downtown once completed. YOU anticipates helping up to 60 youth annually, leaning on a wide range of services including shelter, life skills development, and a gamut of housing supports based on the individual needs of each participant.
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and CMHA Thames Valley had also been selected to provide a Hub serving women and female-identifying individuals at a multi-site Hub. The proposal included two sites (705 Fanshawe Park Road West and 556 Dundas Street), which were evaluated and awarded as a single bid submission under the formal public procurement process. On November 6, 2023, CMHA Thames Valley announced that it was no longer able to proceed with its Hub proposal due to circumstances beyond its control.
The Hubs will be primarily funded by provincial dollars already allocated to the City under the Homelessness Prevention Program, in the amount of $10.4 million, spread over two years. A request will also be made to the Fund for Change in the amount of $4.9 million to open and $5.2 million to operate the Hubs over the two years. There will be no tax levy implications resulting from the implementation of these Hubs.
Community members in the vicinity of the new Hub locations will be engaged by the lead agencies to learn more about the hubs and how they can provide feedback for a smooth transition for Hubs into their respective neighbourhoods.
With the implementation of the first Hubs, the City will also continue to work with sector and community members to establish highly supportive housing which is also a critical element of the Whole of Community System Response.
Physical Space Specifications
The physical design considerations and space specifications for the Hubs include an estimated 8-10,000 square feet of multi-use space, recognizing that this will be impacted by building availability and specific population design and accessibility criteria.
- Side entry off of street – for privacy and line management
- Fenced private space – for program delivery, stabilization and gathering.
- Green space – to support recreation and for those with pets.
- General design and landscaping – to mirror characteristics of neighbouring properties.
- Meeting accessibility requirements.
- Awning/weather protection for outside engagement.
Interior: This plan intentionally includes separate spaces in the Hubs for those in transitional beds and respite beds – to help ensure continued stability for those in-residence versus those staying temporarily, each of whom have different needs, including:
- Commercial kitchen – to facilitate meal management and distribution.
- Single rooms – to accommodate individuals and couples.
- Shared single-use washrooms – for up to 3-4 individuals.
- Laundry facilities – for independent use as required.
- Meeting and appointment space – for consultations and scheduled appointments
- Communal room/multi-purpose room
- Dining space
- Exam/multi-purpose room – for nursing and primary care provision
- Individual storage – for overflow belongings that do not fit in individual rooms.
- Secure storage – for medication management
- Pets allowed.
- Separate crisis de-escalation space – to manage safety and stability for individual, and all participants and staff
- Lobby/front door building space – small gathering space for those accessing HUBS directly and for basic needs provision.
- Laundry facilities – for drop-in use.
- Single use washrooms and shower facilities – for drop-in use
- Intake space – private room for intake and triage
- Pets allowed.
- Individual storage – for those access drop-in hygiene facilities
- Commercial hot water capacity
- Where possible, infrastructure and certain features should be recessed in the walks
- Durable furniture
- Robust IT infrastructure – including reliable Wi-Fi, mobile devices, and printing capacity.
- Independent mechanical/furnace room
- Cleaning supply room
- Physical security infrastructure
- Some camera placements
- Lighting- well-lit outdoor space
- Staff-only secure access space
- Case management file storage room/office space
- Secure storage outside their room
- Participant overflow storage
- Parking for staff and partner agencies
Lived and Living Experience
Individuals with lived and living experience were asked to help inform the Hub implementation plan. These experiences and voices will continue to be collected and the Hubs move forward into operationalizing and through the Whole of Community System Response as other initiatives including highly supportive housing progress. Through a partnership with St. Joseph’s Health Care, the individuals that participate and share their input are offered the opportunity to disengage at any time and should the sharing of their experiences ever become triggering or difficult to handle, supports are offered to them ahead of time. Resources have been created for collecting feedback and to better understand the specific needs of those experiencing homelessness. The feedback gathered through interviews and focus groups centres primarily on probing questions in plain language to elicit a conversation style survey.
24/7 Safe Places
This is a critical function of the Hub s– a place where you can walk in the door 24/7 and receive immediate support. In addition to basic needs/in the moment stabilization support, each Hub offers approximately 35 beds: 25 to 30 are transitional; 5 to 10 are respite beds, ensuring fully accessible spaces
The vision for the Hubs includes a consistent set of services and standards across multiple locations.
The total projected cost for starting up the first five Hubs would be approximately $13.5 million in operating and $10 million in capital. While some existing Housing Stability Services base funding through the Homeless Prevention Program funding is available, advocacy efforts will see funding from other levels of government, and Civic Administration will also be launching the Funders Reference Table as part of this response framework.
The projected cost of each Hub is approximately $2.7 million per year in operating costs on average, which reflects approximately 25-35 beds and staff.
All Doors Lead Here
By working differently together and ensuring the mindset of a ‘no wrong door’ approach, we can offer a range of common functions in an integrated, multi-agency and interprofessional model that is population-specific to meet the unique demographics and care needs, supported by one central phone number for referral, and designed to ensure timely and direct pathways to housing.
Using the “No Wrong Door” approach will all anyone that comes through the front door of the Hubs, from any referral source, to receive help. For high acuity individuals, that may mean stating at a Hub, for others who are lower acuity or when Hub spaces are full, it may mean diversion into other parts of the system. For this reason, professionals staffing the front door of Hubs will be highly trained in stabilization, diversion and utilize a method of triage that allows for a rapid, high level analysis of an individual’s needs.