Persons experiencing homelessness, mental health and addiction are often stuck in the cycles of the Justice system. This population is denied bail at higher rates and must navigate the complicated system by attending various appointments around their communities or risk returning to custody.
Windsor Essex has an established Housing and Homelessness Help Hub that provides day services to those experiencing homelessness. This program has the following services on site: housing, medical, mental health/addictions, and income assistance. Low barrier service delivery and flexible appointment times has made this hub a one stop shop for persons getting released from custody. In 2022, John Howard Bail Verification program was added as a service, recognizing that coming to the population may result in more success and less returns to custody. Probation & Parole has joined the hub and meets with people with mental health and addiction who may forget their appointment times at the probation reporting. Later in 2023, the local jail will begin discharge planning meetings for persons at risk of homelessness and will utilize the hub to ensure a smooth connection to services. The local Community Justice Coordinator is also linked into the Hub and can provide advocacy (when appropriate) for people who will lose their housing if incarcerated.
Their model and collaboration between justice partners aims to reduce barriers, reduce breaches, and empower individuals to exit the system.
Presented at the 2023 HSJCC Virtual Conference on November 15, 2023.
PROBATION AND PAROLE OFFICER
Ministry of the Solicitor General
John Howard Society of Windsor Essex County
COORDINATOR HOUSING ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT
City of Windsor