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FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA–(April 3, 2008) – Families and individuals in Fort McMurray 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.Mr. Brian Jean, Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray-Athabasca, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, today celebrated two projects in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo that received funding of almost $780,000 under the Government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS).
“Our government is delivering on its commitment to help those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,” said Mr. Jean. “We are proud to support community efforts that help find local solutions to local problems. Through this investment, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will be able to implement projects in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area that will help to address the community’s needs and priorities in combatting homelessness, such as prevention measures, emergency facilities for urgent needs, and longer-term housing and services.”
The first project, Aboriginal Communities, is valued at more than $400,000, and is aimed at assisting Aboriginal individuals in the area who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The second project, Designated Communities, is valued at more than $375,000, and will support ongoing efforts to combat homelessness. Both the Municipality and the Government of Alberta have also provided funding for this initiative.
“Funding for projects in the Community Plan will allow us to be proactive and reduce the number of homeless people in Fort McMurray. As a community, we strive to ensure that homeless people have the services they need,” said Her Worship Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
“Alberta is pleased with this federal commitment to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo,” said Ms. Yvonne Fritz, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs for Alberta. “This federal support complements provincial contributions of $800,000 for transitional housing supports and outreach services. The partnership among the three levels of government is helping the community provide safe, secure housing to those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.”
On February 22, 2008, Minister Solberg announced that 505 projects totalling almost $150 million had been approved under the HPS since April 1, 2007, to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada. The announcement made today is part of this total funding.
Since April 1, 2007, the Government of Canada has invested more than $25 million for 37 projects in Alberta through the HPS.
The HPS 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 achieve a better, more stable life,” said Mr. Jean.
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 of Canada committed $110 million for the Commission to develop new innovative demonstration projects that will help Canadians facing mental health and homelessness challenges.
This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.
For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, please visit www.homelessness.gc.ca.
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.
For more information, please contact
Human Resources and Social Development Canada
Media Relations Office
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