SURREY, BC, June 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The Harper Government is investing
more than $41 million in funding through Metro Vancouver as it
implements Housing First, a proven, evidence-based approach to end
homelessness. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Candice
Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development).
Housing First is the cornerstone of the Government's renewed
Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). It aims to stabilize the lives
of homeless individuals 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 end goal is
ensuring these individuals become self-sufficient, fully participating
members of society.
Metro Vancouver is receiving this funding over five years to support
projects that prevent and combat homelessness in the Vancouver area.
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.
In April, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) 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 is an
effective way to reduce homelessness.
Over the course of the MHCC study, an average of 73 percent of
participants in the Housing First group remained in stable housing,
compared to 32 percent for 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
were the highest users of emergency and social services, 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 benefited 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.
"We are pleased to partner with Metro Vancouver to implement Housing
First. Through this new evidence-based approach, we can move out of
crisis mode in terms of managing homelessness and work towards
eliminating it altogether, building stronger communities and ensuring
Canada's long-term prosperity."
- The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)
"With Metro Vancouver serving as the local link for this funding, we're
well-placed to help end the cycle of homelessness in our communities. I
thank the Government of Canada for its ongoing support and acknowledge
the efforts of our partners in the Homelessness Secretariat and the
Metro Vancouver Steering Committee on Homelessness, all of whom work
together to help reduce and prevent homelessness in our region."
- Wayne Wright, Chair of Metro Vancouver Housing Committee and Mayor of
City of New Westminster
"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 Mental Health Commission of Canada.
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 in all
provinces and territories, as well as to Aboriginal, rural and remote
communities across Canada, to help them address homelessness.
Economic Action Plan 2013 renewed the HPS with nearly $600 million in
total funding over five years, ending in March 2019, using a Housing
Until recently, the most common way to deal with homelessness has been a
'crisis-based' model—not just in Canada, but in many developed
countries. This model involves relying heavily on shelters and other
emergency interventions. Typically, individuals must first participate
in a series of treatments and demonstrate sobriety before they are
offered housing. This approach has been costly and not effective for
the long term.
Without stable housing, it is much more difficult to participate in
treatment programs and manage mental and physical health issues. This
leads to high costs for emergency housing, hospitalization, shelters,
prisons and a host of other crisis services.
Housing First, on the other hand, involves ensuring individuals have
immediate housing before providing the necessary supports to help them
stabilize their lives. Experiences in other countries have demonstrated
that this approach shows great promise.
In 2008, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the
Government invested $110 million in the Mental Health Commission of
Canada to undertake its own landmark study. The results demonstrated
that Housing First:
ends homelessness rapidly and leads to other positive outcomes for
quality of life;
is a sound financial investment that can lead to significant cost
works in the long term.
Overall, participants in the study were less likely to get in trouble
with the law, and those who received both housing and supportive
services showed more signs of recovery than those who did not.
Community Entity Model
HPS funding is delivered to eligible communities primarily through the
Community Entity (CE) delivery model, except in the cases of rural and
remote funding in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, where Service
Canada is responsible for delivery. In Quebec, the HPS is delivered
through a Canada-Quebec agreement that respects the jurisdictions and
priorities of both governments in addressing homelessness.
Under the CE model, the federal government entrusts a community body,
often a community's municipal government, to select and manage HPS
projects in their area. All requests for funding must go through the
CE. In addition, all requests for funding are assessed and recommended
to the CE through a community advisory board or a regional advisory
board, composed of a wide range of community stakeholders.
Implementation of the renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy
Implementation of the renewed HPS is through the following three funding
streams, which provide funding to communities across Canada to support
them in addressing homelessness. The Housing First approach, part of
the renewed HPS, will be phased in with specified funding targets, taking into account varying capacity and
resources among communities.
1) Designated Communities
A total of 61 communities across Canada (including those in Quebec) that
have a significant problem with homelessness have been selected to
receive ongoing support to address this issue. These communities—mostly
urban centres—are given funding that must be matched with contributions
from other sources. Funded projects must support priorities identified
through a community planning process.
Starting April 1, 2015, the largest designated communities will be
required to invest at least 65 percent of HPS Designated Communities funding in Housing First activities.
Starting April 1, 2016, other designated communities receiving at least
$200,000 in HPS funding will be required to invest at least 40 percent
of HPS Designated Communities funding in Housing First activities.
Designated communities that receive under $200,000 in HPS funding or are
located in the North will be encouraged to implement Housing First but
will not be required to meet set targets.
Discussions regarding the Canada-Quebec Agreement on the Homelessness
Partnering Strategy 2014-2019 are ongoing.
2) Aboriginal Homelessness
Through the Aboriginal Homelessness funding stream the HPS partners with
Aboriginal groups to ensure that services meet the unique needs of
homeless Aboriginal people living off-reserve in cities and rural
Starting April 1, 2016, communities that receive more than $200,000 in
HPS funding will be required to invest at least 40 percent of HPS Aboriginal Homelessness funding in Housing First activities.
Communities that receive less than $200,000 under the HPS Aboriginal Homelessness funding stream will be encouraged to implement Housing First but will
not be required to meet set targets.
The unique needs of all First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and non-status
Aboriginal people are considered. Aboriginal people who are homeless or
at risk of homelessness and live off-reserve can also access services
under the Designated Communities and Rural and Remote Homelessness
3) Rural and Remote Homelessness
The Rural and Remote Homelessness funding stream of the HPS funds projects in rural and remote areas of
Canada outside the 61 designated communities.
This stream has adopted a two-tiered approach that is based on the rural
population. Priority is given to projects in communities with
populations of 25,000 and under (Tier 1).
To maximize access to HPS funding by as many communities as possible
across the country, activities in larger, non-designated communities
with populations above 25,000 (Tier 2) may also be funded depending on
the availability of funds.
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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