According to the Canadian Poverty Institute, "a large body of research indicates that historical disasters and pandemics can have lasting negative impacts on the mental health of survivors. Emerging data on the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that the virus has been a disaster that has and will have lasting impact on the mental health of individuals on a local, national, and global scale. Recent Canadian surveys report increased levels of anxiety, depression, and isolation. Specific populations are found to be more impacted and at risk of developing adverse psychological symptoms, especially children, immigrants and visible minorities, and gender diverse individuals." Accordingly, Start Me Up Niagara has compiled a list of resources for those in our community seeking out services and to help our participants improve the quality of their life and to set and achieve their individual goals.

Resources | Start Me Up Niagara

Find the Programs and Services in Our Community.

Start Me Up Niagara has worked hard over the last few years to build a list of programs and resources for our participants and those in our community who know of, or those who are facing, significant life challenges such as addiction, mental illness, poverty, homelessness, and unemployment. 

Here you will find links to resources we provide or other agencies in the St. Catharines and Niagara Region for those wanting to improve their health, increase community integration, and find or stabilize employment.

None of these resources would be possible without the help of our staff, volunteers, our Board of Directors, or the other amazing agencies in our community who work to see that all people are included, healthy, and self-sufficient.

Local Resources for those experiencing homelessness, poverty, or addiction

Start Me Up Niagara has built out a map of resources and services for those experiencing homelessness, poverty, addiction, or illness in our Region. Find out what services are available by clicking here.

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Homeless Employment Access

This report on a study of homeless access to employment in Niagara, is comprised of four
parts: a literature review, a population survey, a social service agency interview, and a
business interview.

  • 80% - 97% of homeless persons have been employed in the formal labour market.
  • People who are homeless often find employment in marginal occupations characterized by
    low wages, no benefits, and with no opportunities for advancement.
  • Homeless persons face a number of employment barriers, of which seven are
    predominant: Lack of a permanent, secure residence, lack of skills/education, physical or
    mental health issues, drug/substance abuse, criminal and legal involvement, lack of
    transportation, and irregular employment histories.

This report set out to determine Best Practices with regard to employment access for homeless
individuals. However, the literature review showed a lack of research in this area, as very little
exists beyond acquiring employment. By and large, a concern with homeless employment
ceases when employment is found.

To read the full report, click here. 

The Government of Canada, National Homelessness Initiative, funded this Research document. The content of the document and the opinions expressed therein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Homelessness Initiative.

Sofas, Shelters, and Strangers

The growing number of homeless youth in Canada - some estimates suggest that youth represent one third of all shelters users (Laird, 2007) - makes youth homelessness a concern for every municipality. The following report outlines the design, methodology, findings and recommendations of a study of the causes and impacts of youth homelessness in the Regional Municipality of Niagara conducted between February 2009 and February 2010. The report outlines the findings from a study of 40 homeless youth and 20 chronically homeless adults who became homeless when youth.

  • The families of origin for the youth in the study reflect a range of income levels, with 42% of youth describing their financial situation while growing up as average, 21% as above average and 37% as below average. The majority of parents were working full time, though their levels of education are below the average for the Niagara Region.
  • Youth in the study demonstrate a strong commitment to education in their current and future planning, but they also identify significant barriers to achieving their educational goals. These barriers include financial costs and difficulties with school itself. A very high proportion of youth report attending special classes in school which suggests a higher rate of learning difficulties among the group than among youth in general.
  • The connection of youth to school over the course of the study was sporadic and compromised by mobility and unstable housing. Attendance at school was higher for the female youth than the male youth.

To read the full report, click here.

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