245 Detroit Street Updates

245 Detroit Street Updates

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Last Updated: August 6, 2021

1. How is the City helping people at 245 Detroit Street?

Multiple departments at the City, including Housing, Building, By-Law and Windsor Police along with community partners, including Family Services Windsor-Essex, have been on-site since July 12 to support displaced residents to complete necessary applications for housing, apply and relocate to other housing options, apply for income support, obtain medical supports, and obtain identification. City staff and agencies have also provided information to residents on emergency shelter supports, Homelessness & Housing Help Hub (H4) Day Program for housing assistance and other social and health services in the community.

2. What are outreach workers?

Homelessness Street Outreach workers through Family Services Windsor-Essex (FSWE), play a paramount role in ensuring that any person who is currently isolated or disconnected from community services or supports can get reconnected in a respectful and safe manner.

To be truly effective in its efforts to prevent and end chronic homelessness, Outreach Services must be steadfast in its commitment to a Housing Focused, Harm Reducing, Trauma Informed and Proactive engagement with individuals, youth and families that live outside in buildings/structures not meant for human habitation, in parks, alleyways, under bridges, in homeless encampments, etc. (OrgCode Consulting, 2019).

It often takes time for outreach workers to build trust with people living outdoors and have them begin to accept help from community support agencies.

3. Who is Family Services, and what do they do?

Family Services Windsor-Essex (FSWE) is a non-profit, charitable organization serving Windsor and Essex County. FSWE helps people to restore their ability to choose their own place in the world through counselling and individual support services.

Some of the services provided through FSWE include the following:

  • Outreach for people experiencing homelessness in Windsor and Essex County;
  • Qualified counsellors to help people grow and develop, through walk-ins, appointments and groups;
  • Client-centered support services to provide strategies to help people live independently; and
  • A complete range of financial services to help budget, manage debt and develop financial literacy.

More information on the services provided by Family Services Windsor-Essex can be found at: fswe.ca

4. Why isn’t the City housing all the residents who were evicted?

With the current rental market vacancy rate at 3.6% and the cost of rent on the rise, it can take time for people with low income to find safe and affordable housing.

The City and community partners are working with displaced residents to determine their housing preferences and seek affordable housing options that are currently available in the community. This includes helping people apply to the Central Housing Registry for social housing and looking at supportive housing options and the private rental market.

All people known to be experiencing homelessness are also added to the community’s By Names Prioritized List, which assesses each household’s vulnerability and matches them with an appropriate support agency that can assist in finding housing and providing ongoing supports, if needed.

The City does provide funding for emergency shelters, which currently have space for anyone who needs a bed and access to meal, showers and washroom facilities. These shelters also help people find permanent, affordable housing. See more info in questions below.

Access to social housing (including rent supplements and housing allowances) is through the Central Housing Registry Windsor Essex. The Central Housing Registry Windsor Essex determines eligibility for social housing and places applicants in one of the following categories of priority:

  • Priority One – Survivors of Domestic Violence and/or Survivors of Human Trafficking
  • Priority Two – People Experiencing Homelessness
  • Priority Three – Chronological, based on date of approved application.

The waitlist for social housing is over 5,000 households, and waits for units can be months, if not years, depending on the household size, priority category and the number of social housing building locations they have selected. Over 50% of the people waiting for housing at this time require a 1-bedroom unit.

Housing Information Services employs staff who liaise with landlords and assist with seeking out available market units in the community that meet a person's needs (e.g. transportation, support services, social supports) and further fits within their budget. They have been supporting people from 245 Detroit Street in securing market units.

5. What is the H4?

The Homelessness & Housing Help Hub (H4) is a housing-focused, homelessness resolution program that provides wraparound supports to persons experiencing homelessness. Staff at the H4 are able to assist displaced residents to connect to legal supports through Legal Assistance of Windsor.

Community partners currently on-site at the H4 include Housing Information Services (HIS), Family Services Windsor-Essex (FSWE), Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), City of Windsor - Ontario Works, Can Am Indian Friendship Centre and Windsor Essex Community Health Centre (weCHC).

Support services provided on-site include but are not limited to the following:

  • Referrals and updates to the Windsor Essex By-Names Prioritized List;
  • Completion and updates to Central Housing Registry application forms;
  • Assistance with income maintenance by Ontario Works staff and connection to Ontario Disability Support Program offices as applicable;
  • Connection to Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee Office as appropriate;
  • Housing help;
  • Assistance in obtaining necessary documents required for housing applications (e.g. identification, income verification, etc.);
  • Referrals to other support agencies, as required (e.g. Legal Assistance of Windsor, WEFight, Crisis & Mental Wellness Centre, Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario, Canadian Mental Health Association, etc.);
  • Episodic primary care, as required;
  • Addiction support workers;
  • Harm reduction supplies; and
  • Warm transfer and service restriction resolution into emergency shelter.

H4 is open 7 days per week from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for people experiencing homelessness.

Address: 400 Wyandotte Street East (Windsor Water World)

Phone: 519-253-3806

6. What are the shelter supports for people?

There are three (3) emergency shelters that provide temporary accommodations for residents of Windsor and Essex County who are experiencing homelessness. People in need of emergency shelter must contact one of the shelters listed below who will assess for eligibility and provide information about their intake process:

Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families
263 Bridge Avenue, Windsor

Salvation Army (for single men)
355 Church Street, Windsor

Downtown Mission (for single men, single women and families)
875 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor

7. Is there room in the emergency shelter system?

Yes, the emergency shelter system continues to have availability.

8. How do emergency shelters support people?

Emergency shelters have a critical role in a system’s response to homelessness. Effective emergency shelters have a strong housing orientation and are aimed at having the shortest possible length of stays and the least number of returns to shelter possible (OrgCode, 2017). In effective shelter systems, the eligibility criteria, policies, and practices are aligned with a Housing First approach (Vink Consulting, Best & Promising Practice Review, 2019). Emergency shelters work closely with outreach teams to intentionally outreach to and engage people who are reluctant to access shelter. Shelter services also provide diversion supports as a prevention and early intervention support that focuses on helping households avoid a shelter stay by using creative problem solving, advocacy and flexible assistance to help them identify safe alternatives and supporting them to use their natural supports (i.e. family or friends) as well as community resources to address their long-term housing situation.

Emergency shelters offer multiple supports to people while in shelter, including the following:

  • Basic needs, including food and shelter;
  • Assistance to find permanent housing;
  • Referrals and updates to the Windsor Essex By-Names Prioritized List;
  • Assistance with Central Housing Registry applications; and
  • Referrals to community partners.

9. Why won’t some people go to shelter?

Oftentimes people may chose not to access emergency shelter. The reasons for this are unique to the person or household. It is important to note that there is no mechanism to force people to accept any offer of service, including shelter.

Some reasons a person experiencing homelessness may chose not to access shelter may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Limited freedom that comes from living in your own home or unsheltered. Shelters have structure and rules: curfews, schedules, no outside food, no alcohol, limited smoking breaks, and limits on visitors.
  • Safety. Staying in a shelter also means living among people you don't know, may not trust, or may even fear. Oftentimes, people experiencing homelessness may have stayed in emergency shelters before or other institutional settings (such as foster care, congregate care, hospitals, residential treatment, jail and prison, halfway and three-quarter houses, etc.).
  • Lack of housing success from past experiences only reinforces doubts that staff want to or can help them.
  • Services are not culturally appropriate.
  • Lack of choice: Those seeking shelter often have no choice on which shelter they attend.
  • Pets: Emergency shelters do not currently allow pets.
  • Insufficient storage space is available for belongings.
  • Services are not accessible.

10. Why did the City shut the building down and evict the tenants?

The building was determined to be unsafe for occupants because the required fire alarm and emergency lighting were not operable, and all the toilets were not functioning. An order to repair these systems was issued, and once it was confirmed that the repairs were not completed the Chief Building Official exercised his obligation under the authority of the Ontario Building Code Act and prohibited occupancy.

11. What is a property standards order and why did the City issue one?

The City of Windsor By-law 3-2006 (Yard Maintenance & Anti-Littering By-Law) regulates the exterior of properties. Examples under By-Law 3-2006 are tall grass, refuse, furniture and needles. The City of Windsor By-Law Enforcement Department received a complaint from the 311 Call Centre about the conditions of the exterior of 245 Detroit Street. The City of Windsor By-Law Enforcement Unit issued an order due to the large amount of refuse, furniture, and appliances on the property. The order is served to the property owner and makes the property owner responsible for compliance. The By-Law Enforcement Unit will follow up in 7 days to ensure compliance with the issued order. If the property is still in violation after the compliance period has expired, the City of Windsor then has the authority to correct the deficiencies on behalf of the owner and place such costs on the municipal tax roll.

12. Why doesn’t the City just remove encampments on private property?

Police and the City of Windsor By-Law Enforcement personnel need to ensure that the owners of private property are consulted with and in agreement to remove encampments from their property. This is sometimes done through a court order. Once clear direction is received from the property owner, then Police and City By-Law Enforcement personnel can enforce any applicable legislation to ensure people vacate the property, while facilitating the removal of the encampment.

Related 245 Detroit Street City of Windsor Newsroom Updates

August 4, 2021 - City and Support Agencies Update on Work with Displaced Residents

July 20, 2021 - City Responds to Needs of Displaced Residents

July 15, 2021 - Unsafe Building to be Closed; City Supports Displaced Residents

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