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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(April 11, 2008) – Families and individuals in British Columbia working to break free from the cycles of homelessness and poverty and build a stronger future for themselves are getting help from the Government of Canada.The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, today announced funding for 117 projects worth almost $20.6 million in British Columbia under the Government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS).
“Our government is delivering on our commitment to help those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, by supporting organizations who have solutions that best fit local needs,” said Minister Day. “By investing in these 117 projects across British Columbia, we are helping community efforts to help those in need.”
The announcement took place at the Urban Native Youth Association’s new Young Gisbutwada Lodge. The organization is receiving almost $830,000 in HPS funding to purchase this new home in Vancouver, which will provide housing for five Aboriginal youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness as they transition into foster care, or between foster placements. During their stay at Young Gisbutwada Lodge, these youth will have connections to community resources such as medical care and counselling, and will be able to explore employment or schooling opportunities and to reunite with their families.
“We are pleased to welcome Minister Day to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Young Gisbutwada Lodge,” said Ms. Lynda Gray, Executive Director, Urban Native Youth Association. “The funding we have received from our federal partners to purchase this facility will help us ensure the long-term sustainability of new and innovative programming to help create better outcomes for Native youth who are in foster placements.”
On February 22, 2008, Minister Solberg announced that 505 projects totalling almost $150 million have been approved since April 1, 2007, under the HPS to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada. The funding announced today is part of that total figure.
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy is providing $269.6 million over two years to help communities across Canada combat homelessness more effectively. The Strategy recognizes that housing stability is essential to self-sufficiency and full participation in Canadian society. It focuses on transitional and supportive housing as important measures to help people overcome homelessness. With its clear goals of improved partnerships, enhanced sustainability and tangible results, the strategy will provide concrete, meaningful and lasting results for Canadians in need.
“Our government is investing more in affordable and supportive housing than any federal government in Canada’s history, and as a result, we are helping tens of thousands of Canadians reach a better, more stable life,” said Minister Day.
The link between homelessness and mental illness is well established. In 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the first-ever Mental Health Commission of Canada, and in Budget 2008, the Government committed $110 million for the Commission to develop new innovative demonstration projects that will help Canadians facing mental health and homelessness challenges.
For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, please visit
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) began on April 1, 2007. The Strategy is providing $269.6 million over two years to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada. The HPS is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness in Canada by providing funding and direct support to more than 60 communities across Canada.
Under the HPS, the Government of Canada is offering to work in partnership with all provinces and territories. Once put in place, such partnerships would encourage better alignment of federal and provincial/territorial investments, and help to provide a seamless continuum of supports for homeless people.
The HPS has three main initiatives: the Homelessness Partnership Initiative, the Homelessness Accountability Network and the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative.
The Homelessness Partnership Initiative (HPI) is the cornerstone of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Its housing-first approach recognizes that the first step is to provide individuals with transitional and supportive housing.
The HPI has four funding components:
- Designated Communities
- Outreach Communities
- Aboriginal Communities
- Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects
The Homelessness Accountability Network helps to strengthen program accountability. It also develops knowledge and encourages organizations to reinforce their networks and share best practices.
The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative makes surplus federal property as well as land available to community organizations, the not-for-profit sector, and other levels of government, for projects to prevent and reduce homelessness.
EXAMPLES OF HOMELESSNESS PARTNERING STRATEGY PROJECTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
- The Nelson District Community Resources Society received $97,808 to employ a Tenant Support Worker at the Stepping Stones for Success emergency shelter located in Nelson. The Tenant Support Worker will assist a minimum of 75 individuals who have previously utilized the shelter to stabilize their lives through individualized programs. These supports are intended to meet the community needs for safe, affordable, and supportive long-term housing and services, and are expected to reduce the number of individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Nelson.
- The First Presbyterian Church in Prince Rupert received $8,001 to run a free, weekly Saturday breakfast program. The funding will be used to purchase juice, cereal, eggs, pancake mix, and other food staples to make breakfast for homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness on the only day of the week that no other feeding programs are available. In addition, those individuals that prepare the food will be trained in FOODSAFE, which will give them practical experience that they can apply in the restaurant industry.
- The Haven Society received $302,450 to coordinate and provide comprehensive supportive housing and supports to individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Nanaimo. The Willow Wrap Around Initiative Integrated Housing Program will help a total of 50 women, children, youth and families to attain and remain stable in independent housing, utilizing an integrated partnership approach to housing security and placement services.
- The Hiiye’yu Lelum Society received $179,508 to provide an outreach program and a breakfast program to urban Aboriginal individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Duncan. The programs will provide outreach services, including referrals to housing and support services, to 23 individuals, as well as nutritious breakfasts to 106 individuals. These supports are intended to improve the housing and health conditions of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the community, and it is expected that 18 families and/or individuals will be placed in adequate housing over the course of this project.
- The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre Association received $155,000 to provide regular and ongoing support for at least 50 women who are at risk of homelessness due to addictions and mental health issues. The project aims to stabilize women in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside who are at risk of homelessness in their current living situations, enabling them to address their barriers through referrals to service providers, enhanced supports, and networking with housing providers.
This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.
For more information, please contact
Human Resources and Social Development Canada
Media Relations Office
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