Government of Canada helps women and children facing homelessness in Yellowknife

YELLOWKNIFE, Nov. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), announced new Government of Canada measures that will help reduce homelessness in Yellowknife.

"Our government's priority is creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity," said Minister Aglukkaq. "That's why we're giving Canadians the support they need to meet their basic needs and ultimately break free from the cycle of homelessness."

The City of Yellowknife is receiving more than $800,000 in federal funding for its transitional women's facility, Betty House, of which $546,000 comes from the Aboriginal homelessness initiative. The funding is provided through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, which assists Canadians facing homelessness, allowing them to focus on improving their health and their social and employment situations.

"Our government is helping all Canadians, particularly the most vulnerable, achieve self-sufficiency and become participating members of society," said Minister Bergen. "Real solutions to homelessness are achieved only when we work together with our partners, including the City of Yellowknife."

These measures will support the creation of housing, thereby reducing the number of homeless individuals in the region. The housing will not only provide a stable living environment, but also support services to help residents transition to self-sufficiency.

"On behalf of the City of Yellowknife, I would like to thank the Government of Canada for supporting the construction of a transitional home for women and children," said Mark Heyck, Mayor of Yellowknife. "Betty House will help them overcome barriers, develop skills and attain greater independence."

The Government of Canada is introducing measures to reduce homelessness that will make a real difference in communities across the country.

In Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government announced an investment of almost $600 million over five years to renew the Homelessness Partnering Strategy using a Housing First approach as an effective way to reduce homelessness. Housing First moves homeless people from the streets and short-term shelters into immediate and permanent housing, while offering support for addictions and mental illnesses.

A federally funded research demonstration project, along with results from communities in Canada who have already moved to Housing First, have clearly demonstrated that it is the most effective way to reduce homelessness.

Since the launch of Homelessness Partnering Strategy in 2007, thousands of homeless individuals have secured stable housing, found jobs, returned to school and become fully participating members of society.

This news release is available in alternative formats on request.


backgrounder


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.

The Housing First approach recognizes 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.

Housing First involves giving people who are homeless first a place to live, and then the necessary supports (e.g. for mental illness) to help them stabilize their lives and recover as best as possible. Research has shown that Housing First is the most effective approach in reducing chronic homelessness while alleviating pressure on other shelter, health and judicial services.

Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, the federal government has approved over $740 million for projects to 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.

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

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

(media only):

Andrew McGrath
A/Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State (Social Development)
819-953-2351
andrew.mcgrath@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

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