Case Study: Region of Peel

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The Region of Peel serves approximately 1.5 million residents and more than 175,000 businesses in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. The Region’s Housing Services Division, acting on behalf of the Region as the Service Manager for Housing and Homelessness, is responsible for ensuring that homelessness is prevented and people across the Region have access to affordable housing.

The challenge: Approximately 12,000 people were on a waitlist for affordable housing, with wait times of up to six years, despite several excellent programs focused on getting help in place.

Pollinate Approach

  • Pollinate reviewed existing information and data and performed a culture assessment.
  • Pollinate recommended and led a Design Lab process that involved Peel service providers from across Housing and Homelessness. Leaders created the design constraints for a new customer-centric process. A small group of frontline staff designed the new system over a two-day retreat.
  • Based on this work, the group proposed a pilot to the management team.
  • The pilot ran for 6 weeks, demonstrating proof of concept for the new process: 70 families got off the waitlist through the pilot process.
  • Over the following year Peel's Housing and Homelessness adapted and implemented the new system.

Results

  • The new process solution designed by frontline staff was embraced by staff and management across the division and became foundational for the transformation of Housing Services in Peel.
  • The Housing Services Division was restructured to better provide services across the continuum of housing including the creation of a new Housing Development Office.
  • The output included an operations management plan to support changes across the division.
  • Council approved needs-based housing allowances to enable flexibility in providing client-centric housing services to achieve desired outcomes.
  • A common consent form now supports all services delivered under Housing.
  • Introduction of live answer for those requiring urgent housing supports to address immediate need, divert from the wait list and from shelters.
  • Eliminated redundancies impacting client servicing times and staff resources (e.g., wait list application process resulted in the ability to reallocate 2 staff to support frontline delivery vs wait list management; streamlined monthly landlord payment process to eliminate 1 week of work across 3 different divisions).

“The team from Pollinate are skilled, action-oriented leaders and facilitators who meaningfully engaged our team to design and pilot a new approach to delivering service to our clients. As a result of a successful pilot, which 74% of participants stabilized their housing as a result of the different approach and intervention, we are now transforming our services, and in doing so helping more vulnerable clients get and keep housing they can afford.”

- Aileen Baird, Director Housing Services, Region of Peel

HIGHLIGHTS

Ability to shift to needs-based approach to permanently house 40 shelter clients during Covid-19 pandemic (April to August)

A new needs assessment has been implemented to right size supports to address housing need and streamline the application process for services

Restructuring and focus on client outcomes significantly increased the number of households who received supports to get and keep housing from 2018 to 2019.

“It was really exciting to see the ideas, problem solving and discussions that happened in the pilot. Being able to focus on the needs of our clients and building a case plan around those needs instead of traditional program silos was foundational to the transformation program and the shift to a needs-based approach.”

– Grace Caron, Transformation Program Director, Housing Services, Region of Peel

“As a worker participating in the pilot, I could see the positive experience it gave my clients. It enabled clients to be more involved in their housing and created an environment where if needed, additional support could be supported long term. It gave clients a sense of freedom; a way to navigate the system if they had no idea prior. Using a needs-based approached allowed us to find housing and supports that were most suited to clients.”

– Housing Support Worker, Housing Services, Region of Peel