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The role of local government in a homeless response: The people’s project: A collaborative community response

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Parity, 30(8), 39-40

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This article presents a detailed account of a collaborative effort initiated in February 2014 by the former Mayor of Hamilton, Julie Hardaker.

The initiative aimed to address the increasing issue of rough sleepers in Hamilton’s central city and surrounding suburbs through a multi-agency approach. It highlights the critical role of local government in facilitating and leading a coordinated response to homelessness, involving key stakeholders from various sectors including the police, health services, and non-governmental organisations. The People’s Project, underpinned by the Housing First approach, demonstrates a successful model for addressing complex needs associated with homelessness, such as mental health and substance use disorders, through immediate access to housing coupled with wrap-around support services. The article underscores the importance of community collabouration, strategic planning, and sustained support to effectively tackle homelessness. It showcases the project’s achievements, including significant reductions in rough sleeping and improvements in public safety perceptions, serving as a compelling case study for other regions. The People’s Project exemplifies how targeted, compassionate, and coordinated community responses can make a substantial impact on reducing homelessness, with the backing of local government and a commitment to a Housing First methodology.

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