Government of Canada helps prevent homelessness in Labrador

GOOSE BAY, NL, April 4, 2013 /CNW/ - People facing homelessness will benefit from a new emergency shelter and increased support services as a result of funding provided to Libra House and the Melville Native Housing Association. Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, made the announcement today.

"Our government is giving a hand up to vulnerable Canadians to help them meet certain basic needs and break free from the cycle of homelessness and poverty. We are pleased to support Libra House and the Melville Native Housing Association in their efforts to find local solutions to local problems," said Dr. Leitch. "By partnering with local organizations to provide essential services to people in need, we are doing our part to prevent and address homelessness throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) funding of $70,000 will be used by Libra House to purchase furniture and appliances, as well as to complete paving and landscaping, for a recently built emergency shelter for women and children who are escaping relationship violence.

"Libra House is incredibly grateful for the funding approval to complete our new Shelter project and purchase new furniture," said Janet O'Donnell, Executive Director, Libra House. "Libra House has been in operation for almost 28 years and this has been our first opportunity to buy all new furniture for our brand new Shelter. It's an amazing gift that is so greatly appreciated by the staff and residents."

With HPS funding of over $51,000, the Melville Native Housing Association will provide support services to help people in rental housing develop life skills necessary to maintain stable housing. The Association will deliver individual and group training for renters on topics such as budgeting and home maintenance.

"We cannot express enough our gratitude to receive funding to hire a Tenant's Relations Officer for our organization," said Matthew Pike, Chairman of the Melville Native Housing Association. "Our positive and continuing working relationship with the federal government ensures that the Association can continue to provide safe and affordable housing to Aboriginal families while ensuring their needs are addressed by our organization."

In September 2008, the Government committed to more than $1.9 billion in housing and homelessness programs over five years. As part of this commitment, the Government of Canada renewed the HPS until March 2014. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes additional funding for the HPS of $119 million per year over five years, until March 2019.


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Homelessness Partnering Strategy

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to 61 designated communities across Canada.

In September 2008, the Government committed to investing more than $1.9 billion in housing and homelessness programs over five years. This included a renewal of the HPS until March 2014. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $119 million per year over five years, until March 2019, for the HPS using a Housing First approach. This represents nearly $600 million in total new funding.

"Housing First" involves giving people who are homeless a place to live first, and then providing the necessary supports (e.g. for mental illness) to help them stabilize their lives and recover as best as possible. "Housing First" can be an effective tool in solving chronic homelessness while reducing pressure on other shelter, health and justice services.

Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, the Government has approved over $736 million for projects that prevent and reduce homelessness across Canada.

The HPS provides structures and supports that help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to achieve self-sufficiency and participate fully in society. This model seeks to address homelessness by working in partnership with the provinces and territories and other federal departments, as well as with communities and the private and not-for-profit sectors.

The availability of safe, stable housing and related supports is an important element in addressing homelessness and helping individuals who are homeless achieve greater self-sufficiency and a better quality of life. The Government's investments are creating jobs, stimulating local economies and improving the quality of life for many Canadians.

By working with all our partners, we will maximize results to make a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable Canadians. The HPS provides the support that our community partners are seeking.

The HPS encourages a housing-first approach, recognizing that housing stability is an important first step in addressing homelessness. It is also necessary for the success of other interventions such as education and training, the development of life skills and the management of mental health issues.

For more information on the HPS and the seven funding streams, please visit www.hrsdc.gc.ca/homelessness.


SOURCE: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

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This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

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Alyson Queen
Director of Communications
Office of Minister Finley
819-994-2482

Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
819-994-5559
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