November 15, 2022 10:56am
The Grey-Bruce Health Unit is aiming to help prevent an issue that targets the most vulnerable people in our communities.
A new “home takeover” pilot project is being launched by the GBHU and 14 community partners have formed an advisory committee, which includes housing organizations, mental health services, police, fire, and other community organizations.
A “home takeover” is a situation where “a vulnerable homeowner or tenant is forced to accommodate an unwanted guest in their home. The perpetrator could be a relative, friend, or acquaintance of the home’s legitimate occupant, who may have initially been invited to stay over – often to fulfil a personal, social, or economic need of the occupant,” says a release from the GBHU.
The situation becomes a “home takeover” when “the perpetrator refuses to leave and their actions or activities make the occupant feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or threatened in their own home,” the release adds.
Threats, violence, financial exploitation or manipulation are a few reasons why a victim of a “home takeover” may appease the perpetrator, and the perpetrator may have a drug dependency, mental health issues or experienced homelessness. The Grey Bruce Health Unit has created a Home Takeover Pilot Project webpage that contains information on home takeovers as well as project reports, and resources. You can find that here: https://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/Your-Environment/Healthy-Housing/Home-Takeover
“Through this pilot project, we hope to shine a light on the issue of home takeovers, which primarily affect our most vulnerable residents,” says Grey Bruce Health Unit Public Health Nurse Lisa Alguire, co-lead of the pilot project. “Our goal is to reduce the incidence of home takeovers in Grey-Bruce by building this community awareness and through the development of a multi-stakeholder response framework and other resources.”
“Your home should be a place you feel comfortable and safe. This Pilot Project has brought awareness to an issue in our community and collaboration towards solutions,” says Sharon Irwin, Tenant Services Manager with Grey County. “If you are experiencing a home takeover, or are at risk of losing control of your home, there are resources to help you. Reach out to your housing provider or someone you trust for support.”
“Community Navigators at 211 are available 24/7 to help people find local programs and services to help. This includes assisting individuals who may be experiencing a home takeover or loved ones of someone who is in a home takeover situation,” says Pam Hillier, Executive Director of Community Connection/211 Central East Ontario, a key partner in the local home takeover pilot project.