Community Needs Assessment on Emergency Shelters
The Department of Social Development and Housing contracted an independent consultant, Michelle MacDonald, AOR Solutions to undertake a community needs assessment to inform future planning regarding emergency shelter on Prince Edward Island. The objectives of the assessment were:
- To understand the environment and current and projected level of need across the province;
- To understand the current capacity of service providers to meet the need;
- To identify gaps in services;
- To advise policy makers, community services providers and government decision makers to better inform planning and programs based on a common understanding of need; and
- To identify recommended actions to address gaps and need.
This assessment was informed by background research, a jurisdictional scan, key informant interviews, a survey and community consultations. Key audiences identified for this assessment are government decision makers and policy makers, the Community Advisory Board on Homelessness, and community service providers.
The assessment identified nine (9) key areas where gaps exist to address the needs of those individuals who are homeless or imminently homeless:
- Affordable housing availability
- Mental health and addictions supports
- Transitional housing and supportive housing
- Adequate financial resources
- Need for 24/7 shelter options with programming
- Lack of emergency shelters for certain populations
- Coordinated, client-centered approach
- Multifaceted problem requiring multiple solutions
The community needs assessment makes three broad recommendations with a series of layered recommendations within each of these:
- Increase housing supply for emergency shelters, transitional housing, supportive housing and subsidized housing: 19 action items were identified to lower gaps in service relating to recommendation #1; of these, 16 are in progress for completion.
- Adopt a client-centered, collaborative approach: 37 action items were identified to lower gaps in service relating to recommendation #2; of these, 18 are in progress for completion.
- Develop standard data collection approaches and common reporting: four action items were identified to lower gaps in service relating to recommendation #3; of these, two are in progress for completion.