Province Reaches Out To Aboriginal Homeless

by NationTalk on February 9, 2008937 Views

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2008FOR0008-000117
Feb. 8, 2008

Ministry of Forests and Range
and Minister responsible for Housing

VANCOUVER – Non-profit societies in eight communities have been selected to provide homeless Aboriginal people with access to housing and support services through a new $500,000 Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program, Minister responsible for Housing Rich Coleman announced today.“Our new outreach program is designed to recognize the unique cultural and social needs and effectively address the disproportionate number of Aboriginal homeless people,” said Coleman. “The program will enable these people to regain their independence and overcome the barriers that prevent them from leaving the street.”

The Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program builds on the very successful Homeless Outreach Program, which directly engages and connects homeless individuals living on the street to housing, income assistance and community-based support services. Since the Homeless Outreach Program began in 2006, approximately 2,000 people have been connected to housing and supports, with more than 80 per cent remaining housed. The Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program was developed following a series of Talking Circles with Aboriginal groups.

The eight non-profit societies were selected in Vancouver, Victoria, Surrey, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, Duncan and Dawson Creek through an Expressions of Interest proposal call issued in December.

“Today’s announcement provides a unique opportunity to provide a much needed outreach service to our brothers and sisters who currently reside on the streets,” said Christine Smith-Parnell, Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Services. “The Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program provides outreach services in an Aboriginal context and respects our traditional values of respect, dignity and honour.”

The Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program continues the work of the provincial housing strategy, Housing Matters BC, and the work of the Premier’s Task Force on Homelessness, Mental Illness and Addictions.

The Homeless Outreach Program receives $3.9 million in annual funding from the provincial government, and currently delivers services in more than 40 communities across British Columbia.

More information on the Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program is available at http://www.bchousing.org/programs/Aboriginal_housing.

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1 Backgrounder attached.

Media contact:

Roberta Randall
Corporate Communications
BC Housing
604 439-4734
604 992-3305

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