Harper Government invests in homelessness initiatives in rural Alberta

EDMONTON, June 24, 2014 /CNW/ - The Harper Government is investing more than $2,400,000 in funding to the Alberta Rural Development Network to combat homelessness in rural and remote areas across Alberta. The Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance), made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development).

As part of the Harper Government's focus on creating jobs and opportunities, the Alberta Rural Development Network is receiving this investment to support projects that prevent and reduce homelessness over five years.

The cornerstone of the Government's renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is based on the Housing First approach. That approach aims to stabilize the lives of homeless people for the long term by first moving them into permanent housing and then providing additional support for underlying issues, such as addiction and mental health problems. The goal is to help individuals become self-sufficient, fully participating members of society.

Quick Facts

  • The Housing First approach came into effect on April 1, 2014, and is being introduced gradually across the country over the next two years with specified funding targets, taking into account varying capacity and resources among communities.
  • On April 8, the Mental Health Commission of Canada released the final report of the At Home/Chez Soi project. It was the largest study of its kind and provided strong evidence that Housing First effectively reduces homelessness.
  • Over the course of the Mental Health Commission of Canada study, an average of 73 percent of participants in the Housing First group remained in stable housing, compared to 32 percent of the group receiving usual care.
  • The study also showed that Housing First is a sound financial investment that can lead to significant cost savings. For those participants who used emergency and social services the most, every $10 invested led to an average savings to government of $21.72.
  • Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, nearly 25,000 Canadians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have benefitted from education and training opportunities; over 27,000 have received help to find work; and more than 4,800 new shelter beds have been created.

Quotes

"We are pleased to partner with the Alberta Rural Development Network to provide essential services to people in need so we can prevent and address homelessness in rural and remote areas throughout Alberta. Our ultimate goal is to equip and empower individuals so they are able to obtain the skills and employment necessary to become fully participating members of the economy."
- Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance)

"The Alberta Rural Development Network is grateful for the opportunity to deliver the Government of Canada's funding for rural and remote homelessness in Alberta. By working directly with smaller communities to address their unique issues, we can help homeless and at risk individuals be more successful in their own communities."
- Dee Ann Benard, Executive Director, ARDN

"The Government's renewal of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy with a shift to Housing First is great news. The results of the At Home/Chez Soi project clearly demonstrate that the Housing First approach works in Canada. A house is so much more than a roof over one's head. It represents dignity, security, and, above all, hope."
- Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Associated Links


SOURCE Canada's Economic Action Plan

For further information:

Meagan Murdoch
Communications
Office of the Minister of State (Finance)
613-996-7861

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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