Provincial Government Releases Shelter Standards, Minister Available to Media

Press Release

July 11, 2024

The Provincial Government today released Standards for Serving People Experiencing Homelessness in Shelters Throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Developed by OrgCode Consulting following extensive and in-depth consultations with individuals, organizations and community partners, these standards will apply to all emergency shelters that receive Provincial Government funding.

Adoption of these standards will ensure the delivery of consistent, evidence-informed and compassionate service while enhancing accountability for shelter guests, operators and government. The vision is to create a system where homelessness in the province is rare, brief and non-recurring.

The standards emphasize three key aspects for providing shelter:

  • Quality and safe operations that ensure basic needs are met.
  • Lowering barriers to shelter access.
  • The need to be housing-focused and support those in shelter to secure more stable housing options.

The Honourable Fred Hutton, Minister of Housing, is available to media today at 10:30 a.m. in the lobby of West Block, Confederation Building, to discuss the shelter standards. Minister Hutton will be joined by Tracy Flaherty-Willmott, Associate Director of OrgCode Consulting, and Doug Pawson, Executive Director of End Homelessness St. John’s.

The standards cover a wide range of shelter operations and requirements, including:

  • Accessing shelter services and supports, including intake and admission, maintaining a housing focus in operations and staff ratios.
  • Basic needs and services, including beds, access to hygiene supplies and clothing, food and nutrition.
  • Health and safety, including competencies and training requirements for staff, providing a secure environment, bed checks, maintenance, cleaning and pest control.
  • Administration and accountability, including staff and organization codes of conduct, incident reporting, confidentiality and personal privacy.

In developing these standards, OrgCode Consulting engaged with individuals with lived or living experience with homelessness, shelter staff (non-profit and private operators), as well as a steering committee comprised of community sector partners, Indigenous partners, staff with End Homelessness St. John’s and the Community Advisory Board. OrgCode also consulted with the City of St. John’s Planning, Engineering and Regulatory Services Department, NL Health Services and staff with NL Housing. The resulting standards reflects these consultations and industry best-practices.

With the release of these standards, the Provincial Government will re-engage with the project steering committee to guide implementation of these standards. At the same time, government will work with all current shelter operators to assess potential barriers to implementation and potential solutions to ensure compliance. The standards will also be used to bolster government’s current inspection process.

Quotes

“The implementation of these standards will improve the culture of safety and service in our shelters while emphasizing a housing-focus approach, so that the system can operate as intended – providing emergency shelter while increasing connections to more sustainable long-term housing.”

Honourable Fred Hutton
Minister of Housing

“Leaning into evidence informed practices, local realities and the voice of lived/living experience, these standards promote low-barrier, housing-focused and trauma-informed approaches. The consistent implementation of these standards will assist shelters in enhancing homelessness resolution activities while meeting the basic needs of households served in emergency shelters throughout the province.”

Tracy Flaherty-Willmott
Associate Director, OrgCode Consulting

“The development and implementation of shelter standards mark an important shift in the transformation of the shelter system that End Homelessness St. John’s and our many partners have advocated for. We believe a housing-focused, person-centred approach to providing emergency shelter will lead to better coordination and equitable access to services and supports and ultimately lead to the permanent housing outcomes for our neighbours experiencing homelessness.”

Doug Pawson
Executive Director, End Homelessness St. John’s

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