Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia help reduce homelessness in Halifax

HALIFAX, Nov. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), and the Honourable Joanne Bernard, Nova Scotia Minister of Community Services and Minister Responsible for Housing Nova Scotia, today recognized the continued commitment of Shelter Nova Scotia for its work to help those in need of housing solutions in Halifax.

Shelter Nova Scotia is benefiting from support through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) to continue its essential work with those facing homelessness in the region. Since 2007, projects funded under the HPS have placed over 55 000 people into more stable housing.

"Our government is committed to helping vulnerable Canadians lift themselves out of poverty and lead successful lives. We are pleased to support Shelter Nova Scotia in its efforts to find local solutions to local problems," said Minister MacKay. "By partnering with Shelter Nova Scotia to provide essential services to people in need, we are doing our part to prevent and address homelessness in Halifax."

"We're committed to helping vulnerable Canadians achieve self-sufficiency and fully participate in society," said Minister Bergen. "By providing support to people in need, we're building stronger communities and ensuring Canada's long-term prosperity."

Shelter Nova Scotia received over $1.24 million through HPS to build an apartment complex with 19 fully-furnished units. These units provide homeless men with safe and affordable housing and better access to community-based supports and services. The building is also designed to accommodate retail businesses, to help provide income and improve the sustainability of the project.

"Housing developments such as these are not just an investment in the bricks and mortar of a building," said Minister Bernard "They are first and foremost an investment in building stronger communities and stronger families in Nova Scotia.  As we move forward with a new direction for housing in Nova Scotia, I look forward to working with communities, our federal colleagues, partners and stakeholders to ensure that every Nova Scotian has a safe and affordable place to call home."

Through Affordable Housing Programs, the federal and provincial governments also provided $475,000 to help Shelter Nova Scotia develop this project. This investment will help ensure that vulnerable individuals can access the housing and services they need.

"Our supportive housing apartment building for men transitioning from shelter back to community has proven to be a success," said Don Spicer, Executive Director of Shelter Nova Scotia. "This building would never have materialized without the generous support of the Government of Canada." 

The Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2013 committed $119 million per year over five years for the HPS using a "Housing First" approach as an effective way to reduce homelessness.

The Government of Nova Scotia, through the Department of Community Services and Housing Nova Scotia, helps Nova Scotians secure affordable housing that meets their needs. For more information on Housing Nova Scotia visit www.housingns.ca. For more information on the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services visit www.novascotia.ca/coms.

The Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), will invest approximately $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of close to 594 000 households living in existing social housing. In Nova Scotia, this represents an estimated 19 850 households.

These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals facing homeless, seniors, Canadians with disabilities, newcomers and Aboriginal people. To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, contact CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca.


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.

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

"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 $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 to make a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable Canadians.

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.

The HPS adopts 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: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

For further information (media only):

Johanna Quinney
Director of Communications
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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Elizabeth MacDonald
Communications Advisor
Community Services
902-424-4844
macdoea@gov.ns.ca

IF THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN ANY PRINTED VERSION AND THE ELECTRONIC VERSION OF THIS NEWS RELEASE, THE ELECTRONIC VERSION WILL PREVAIL.


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