Preventing Homelessness among Families amidst a Pandemic

“The Prevention of Homelessness Among Families (PHAF) program helps on various levels. Shelter Diversion helps prevent families from having to come into shelter, Housing Selection helps families staying in shelter to find housing, and Housing Stability supports people moving from shelter into their new home to be self-sufficient,” stated Stacey Wilson (pictured right), Program Supervisor at Rotholme Family Shelter (Rotholme).

During the pandemic, PHAF had to adapt in two main ways to ensure the program could continue providing supports to families in need. Firstly, communication with clients in the community shifted to physically distanced and electronic platforms. “While our Housing Selection Worker can’t meet people in their homes at this time, she will meet them outside while distancing, wearing masks, and using hand sanitizer. Our Housing Crisis Worker has also been working with families over the computer and phone,” Stacey explained.

Secondly, the Rotholme team resolved to offer PHAF services to families staying off-site in a hotel in an effort to facilitate physical distancing. “One of our Caseworkers did go out to work at the hotel to support the families there and help them find stable housing,” said Stacey.

From April to October, Rotholme has helped 29 families find housing in the community. “I would say we’ve absolutely been successful in securing housing,” noted Stacey. “PHAF has shown it’s effective and it’s working, especially through the pandemic. If it wasn’t for PHAF, we would have more families contacting us and looking for shelter if they didn’t have our team to turn to for information,” she said. “I’m glad we’ve been able to help lots of families find housing and stay housed during this time”.


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