City of St. Thomas to Discuss Ending Homelessness in Small Urban Communities at OSUM Conference
Posted on 04/27/2023

St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada – Staff will represent the City of St. Thomas at the Ontario Small Urban Municipalities (OSUM) Conference this week and participate in a session on actions being taken by municipalities to support those experiencing homelessness. The annual conference runs from Wednesday, April 26 to Friday, April 28 in Paris, ON.


In today’s session, Sandra Datars Bere – City Manager, will discuss the success of and the pathway to achieving the Built For Zero community status and other important initiatives that support the most vulnerable in our community.


The conversation will highlight the best practice measures implemented to reduce homelessness, which include maintaining a quality By Name List of individuals experiencing homelessness, utilizing a Coordinated Access System to match people to resources, and providing supportive housing through partnerships with organizations such as the YWCA, CMHA, and Indwell.  Additionally, discussion will focus on the operation of emergency shelters and additional resources in the downtown core to support vulnerable people, with the intention of working towards eliminating the need for shelter services and reinvesting those resources into more housing and housing with supports. View the speaking points here.


“We are proud of the hard work our staff and community have put into reducing homelessness, and we reaffirm our commitment to providing supportive housing through partnerships with community organizations. Our goal is to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing with the supports they need to thrive,” said Mayor Joe Preston.


Last held in 2019, the OSUM Conference draws close to 250 municipal leaders from across Ontario to examine and address issues of the day facing small urban municipalities. This year’s conference features conversations with The Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Chief Stacey Laforme, Mississaugas of the First Credit, Marit Stiles, Leader of the Official Opposition and the NDP, and Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario.


Numerous policy changes and issues are facing Ontario’s small urban areas, and the annual OSUM Conference provides a significant opportunity to collectively address them. Topics include Inclusion by Design, Ideas and Tactics for Small Urban Revitalization, and Ending Homelessness in Small Urban Communities, among others.


For more information on OSUM and this year’s conference, visit



The Ontario Small Urban Municipalities (OSUM) is an organization that works to promote the unique needs and challenges of small urban municipalities (those with populations between 10,000 and 100,000) and advocate on their behalf to the provincial government. OSUM provides a platform for their members to discuss shared problems, exchange best practices, and work together on initiatives.