The “Understanding Homelessness in Waterloo Region: a Backgrounder Report” was published in June of 1999. The purpose of this research was to:
- better understand the extent of homelessness issues
- provide a basis for community planning and action
The report spurred the formation of the Community Homelessness Working Group in the Fall of 1999 through the Waterloo Region Housing Coalition.
The group created a forum to raise awareness on the issue of homelessness and create a critical mass of people to undertake action.
The Homelessness Forum was held in February 2000 and the resulting report “Opening Doors” was published in July 2000.
Two months later, in September 2000, the federal government announced the local allocation of Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI) Funds.
A total of 1.3 million was available locally and in order to access the funding, it was required that a Community Plan be completed and accepted by the federal government.
The Community Homelessness Working Group took on the responsibility of writing the Community Plan.
The Waterloo Region Community Homelessness Working Group requested that the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (Region) take on the role of Community Entity (CE) through an agreement with the Federal Government to manage the SCPI funds and to implement the Community Plan.
After the Community Plan was completed, the group decided it was an ideal time to re-evaluate its purpose and goals.
An evaluation of the Working Group was completed in November of 2001 and identified the need for terms of reference.
A transition group was created in February of 2002 to draft a terms of reference for adoption by the larger Working Group which as a result, transitioned into the Waterloo Region Homelessness Network.
Two and a half years later, in September 2004, with initiation through the Housing Coalition, leaders of various housing and homelessness groups across the region met to determine whether these groups could be streamlined in some way to increase impact, work towards common goals and reduce time at multiple meetings. This ad-hoc group created, distributed and compiled the results of a survey that went to all known housing and homelessness groups regarding their needs and interests in increasing coordination between groups. A model was drafted and reviewed by all groups. It was decided that the Waterloo Region Homelessness Network would be modified and renamed to serve as an umbrella group for all community homelessness and housing groups within the Region.
The Homelessness and Housing Umbrella Group (HHUG) model, dreaft terms of reference and transition plan were adopted November 30, 2005 and the HHUG’s first Steering commitee was elected February 1, 2006.
With a successful application the Ontario Trillium Foundation, HHUG hired a staff person in 2007. A subsequent second successful application meant that this staff person could continue, leading to the completion and and launch of 5 Report Cards, Teacher’s Toolkit and the Housing Stability Training Centre (HSTC).
In 2010, the Waterloo Region Housing Coalition (WRCH), after more than 20 years of activity concluded that its purpose was now filled or could be filled through other existing groups. WRHC decided to cease meeting and to pass along its assets and responsiblity for its annual housing awards to HHUG.
In January, 2013 the HHUG Steering Committee undertook a planning process to determine the next phase of HHUG after the Ontario Trillium Funding expired in August, 2013. Using the assets from the Waterloo Region Housing Coalition, fees generated from the Housing Stability Training Centre, and fundraised dollars, it was decided to scope down HHUG’s work to a .5 staff position.
In 2014 HHUG was selected as one of the local recipients of the Hockey Helps the Homeless tournament in K-W.
This funding has ensured that HHUG can continue to have a .5 staff person.