AHAN Project

 

What is the Affordable Housing Action Network (AHAN)?

How can I get involved?

How did AHAN get started?

What was the Affordable Housing Research Project?

What did the researchers find out about local homelessness?

Where can I find a copy of the "Boxed In Report: The Affordable Housing Crisis in Hastings County"?

How are legal clinic staff involved?

Where can I find a copy of the "Beyond Bandaids Report: A Community Response to Homelessness"?

 


What is the Affordable Housing Action Network (AHAN)?

The Affordable Housing Action Network is a growing group of individuals and organizations who want to make a difference. The AHAN's mission is:

 

"To create more affordable housing options for people who are precariously housed or homeless using a variety of approaches including collaborative networking, housing development, capacity building and advocacy."



How can I get involved?

Visit AHAN's website. You will find:


How did AHAN get started?

On National Housing Strategy Day in November 2002, community members resolved that a coordinated community response to homelessness and the need for affordable housing was needed. The newly formed Housing Working Group (HWG) met to figure out how to help the community move forward on this complex issue of homelessness. The formation of the HWG reflected a unique and ground-breaking partnership between very diverse organizations who developed new ways of working together. The legal clinic was one of the original partners along with the Three Oaks women's shelter, Youth Hab Quinte and the Hastings County Social Services Department.

 

The HWG met at least monthly for more than a year to lay the groundwork for an
innovative, creative and groundbreaking collaborative participatory action research project in Hastings County. This project was called the ‘Hastings County Affordable Housing Research Project.’

 


What was the Affordable Housing Research Project?

The Research Project provided an exceptional opportunity to identify the needs and causes of homelessness and understand the “face of homelessness” in small urban and rural communities. In addition to exploring the needs and difficulties of people who met the traditional definition of being homeless, the research process ensured that we learned more about people who were ‘precariously housed’ and at risk of losing their homes. We wanted to both gather information that could assist in prevention and build community capacity to respond appropriately and creatively to the challenges presented.

 


What did the researchers find out about local homelessness?

The survey results provided compelling evidence of the extent of the homelessness and affordable housing crisis in Hastings County. The amount of “invisible” homelessness (persons who have no place of their own but are not staying on the streets or in a shelter) in Hastings County, was startling. More than 100 respondents, representing almost 300 persons, self-identified as homeless and 51% of those respondents further reported that there were other times in the past when they did not have a place of their own. Among the housed, one-third of respondents, 239 households, reported that during the past 3 years they needed to stay with friends, family or in a shelter because they had no home of their own.

 

The Report "Boxed In: The Affordable Housing Crisis in Hastings County" released in April 2005 provided detailed community, demographic and survey information. The researchers in collaboration with the HWG, following community forums and consultations developed an Action Plan (See Appendix I of the "Boxed In" report) to inform the community's future work around homelessness.

 

The AHAN now carries forward the Action Plan through it's Task Forces and committees. Visit their website for a list of the Task Forces, committees and projects currently underway.

 


Where can I find a copy of the "Boxed In Report: The Affordable Housing Crisis in Hastings County"?

The report is available from the AHAN website at http://www.hastingshousing.com/ahan/ahan_archive_reports.cfm (scroll to bottom).

 

You can also view or download a copy from the Hastings County website (housing page).

 


How are legal clinic staff involved?

Clinic staff have extensive experience in dealing with people who are homeless or precariously housed because of our poverty law practice. This has enabled us to have a very broad perspective on the issue - and the factors that contribute to homelessness. In 2001 clinic staff wrote the report "Beyond Bandaids: A Community Response to Homelessness" in 2001 that recommended amongst many other things that:

"a forum be created in our community so that local people can meet to discuss the need for advocacy, education and exploration of issues of homelessness, and the need for safe, adequate and affordable housing".

Clinic staff have been deeply involved in all the work that has led up to the creation of AHAN. As an original member of the Housing Working Group, the clinic has provided many in kind contributions and staff time to support the creation of AHAN and obtain funding for staff support for AHAN.


Where can I find a copy of the "Beyond Bandaids Report:  A Community Response to Homelessness"?

Click here for a copy of this report (PDF format, 50 pgs, 1 mb) originally released in 2002 that provided the impetus for the community's formation of the AHAN. It also examines several systemic causes for homelessness or less than adequate housing. It was followed in 2004 by another report called "Observations from the Front Lines" which is not yet publicly available.