Government of Canada helps prevent homelessness for youth in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, July 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Vulnerable youth who are facing homelessness and suffering from mental illness will benefit from a new research study that will look at partnerships between mental health services and community housing agencies. Ms. Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"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 St. Paul's Hospital Foundation of Vancouver in its efforts to find local solutions to local problems," said Ms. Young. "By partnering with local organizations that provide essential services to people in need, we are doing our part to prevent and address homelessness in Vancouver."

"This funding will allow us to identify what has made our partnerships transformative in the area of homelessness in mentally ill youth," said Dr. Steve Mathias, Medical Manager, St. Paul's Hospital Inner City Youth Mental Health Program. "We will continue to better understand the needs of this complex and challenging group of young people in the hopes that one day homelessness may be avoided altogether or at the very least, be seen as only a brief journey in a youth's recovery and eventual wellness."

Homelessness Partnering Strategy funding of $67,800 will enable St. Paul's Hospital Foundation to study the benefits of providing integrated mental health and housing services. The results of the project will provide a model for service integration that will be useful for other communities as they develop strategies to reduce homelessness.

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 $119 million per year over five years for the HPS using a "Housing First" approach.


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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 includes 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. "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

For further information:

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

For further information (media only):

Jan O'Driscoll
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Finley
819-994-2482

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