Harper Government supports Housing First model to reduce homelessness

OTTAWA, Oct. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Through the renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy, Canada's new Housing First approach will help stabilize the lives of chronically homeless individuals by directly moving them into permanent housing, the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), told the first National Conference on Ending Homelessness.

"Our government is committed to helping vulnerable Canadians through Housing First, a proven evidence-based model that will deliver better results for those in need," said Minister of State Bergen. "Real solutions to homelessness are best achieved when we partner with community organizations and Housing First has the flexibility to help us meet our shared goals. Together, we can empower those in need to lift themselves out of poverty and lead successful lives."

In Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada renewed its Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) with a focus on the Housing First model.

Housing First involves giving people first a place to live, and then the support they need to stabilize their lives. It also helps them become self-sufficient and fully participate in society. Housing First is effective in reducing chronic homelessness while alleviating pressure on other shelter, health and judicial services.

Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, thousands of homeless individuals have secured stable housing, found jobs, returned to school and become participating members of Canadian society. Moving forward, the federal government will continue to support communities in developing local solutions to homelessness and help them to capitalize on the effectiveness of Housing First.

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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.

Economic Action Plan 2013 announced $119 million per year over five years, ending in March 2019, for the HPS using a Housing First approach. This represents nearly $600 million in total new funding.

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. Housing First is effective in reducing chronic homelessness while alleviating pressure on other shelter, health and judicial services.

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.

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):

Johanna Quinney
Office of the Minister of State (Social Development)
613-697-4449

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