York Region Alliance to End Homelessness

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York Region Alliance to End Homelessness

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York Region Alliance to End Homelessness (YRAEH) was founded in 1999 as the York Region Alliance on Homelessness and Social Isolation after a merger between the York Region Task Force on Mental Health Services for the Homeless and Socially Isolated and the York Region Advisory Committee on Homelessness. YRAEH was a community-based, unincorporated coalition and was the product of community efforts to understand the emergency of homelessness in York Region at a time of both significant population growth and the lowest proportion of rental accommodation in the Greater Toronto Area.

YRAEH’s objectives included: telling the story of homelessness in York Region through research, partnerships and public education; developing and strengthening partnerships to promote systems thinking on structural and systemic issues; promoting inclusivity of individuals and organizations from all sectors and communities; facilitating collaboration for the exchange of ideas amongst member agencies and individuals; building the capacity of the sector through innovation; advocating for resources for vulnerable individuals and for the sector as a whole to help inform progressive policy change; and providing professional development opportunities and training for front line workers.

YRAEH grew in membership to sixty individuals representing over thirty agencies, community members, and community service providers working collaboratively to understand, plan and implement a strategic response to homelessness and the risk of homelessness in York Region. Member organizations in the early years included: Crosslinks Housing & Support Services, Simcoe York District Health Council, Transitional and Supportive Housing Services of York Region, The Salvation Army, Pathways, Red Cross, York Region Social Services Department, Transitional Housing Services of York Region, Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region Social Services, York Region Public Health, YSSN 310-COPE, Georgina Community Legal Services, York County Hospital, Housing Help Centre, Yellow Brick House Women’s Shelter, Blue Door, Youth Housing Markham, St. Elizabeth Health Care, Sandgate Shelter for Women & Children, Out of the Cold Program, Queen Street Mental Health Centre, Oak Ridges Methodone Clinic, Grace Baptist Church, Family Credit & Counseling, Children’s Aid Society, Cedar Lane, Aim for Change, York Region Food Network and others.

In 2005, YRAEH hired a part-time Public Education Coordinator, its first paid staff member. Until this point, member organizations and committees were instrumental in achieving program and advocacy goals and focused on the areas of sustainable funding and organizational structure, education and training, community development, research and policy, and advocacy for women experiencing homelessness. YRAEH, through collaborative research projects, was the first organization to document and understand the transportation challenges and health issues facing people experiencing homelessness in York Region, as well as housing issues for newcomers to the region. In December 2007, YRAEH became a project of Sage Centre (subsequently Tides Canada Initiatives), a federally registered charity formed to support and incubate projects and coalitions that enable social justice and environmental sustainability.

Among YRAEH’s accomplishments was its successful decade long lobbying to open the first emergency shelter for women not fleeing violence in York Region. Belinda’s Place, named after then Member of Parliament, Belinda Stronach, opened in Newmarket in 2016. In partnership with the Krasman Centre, YRAEH developed an award-winning photovoice awareness campaign, Hidden in Plain Sight: Living Homeless in York Region, where individuals experiencing homelessness documented their daily lives with cameras provided by the organizers.

The YRAEH was forced to close in March 2011 due to a lack of sustainable funding. Published reports and videos from the organization can be found on Homeless Hub, an online
homelessness research library maintained by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness at York University (https://www.homelesshub.ca/).


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The Regional Municipality of York Council approval of funding application

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