Speaks to Canada's leadership and experience with Housing First as a
model to reduce homelessness
CHICAGO, IL, March 13, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen,
Minister of State (Social Development), told an international
conference today how the Government of Canada is taking concrete action
to address homelessness in Canada through the Housing First approach.
As part of the renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), the
approach helps stabilize the lives of homeless people by moving them
into permanent housing and providing supports.
Housing First is effective in reducing chronic homelessness while
alleviating pressure on shelter, health and judicial services. Once
stable housing is obtained, the focus shifts to addressing more ongoing
issues, such as addictions or mental health. The approach also helps
individuals become self-sufficient and fully participate in society.
Minister Bergen delivered her speech at the 2014 international Housing
First Partners Conference (HFPC), which featured approximately 100
presentations and plenary sessions from experts engaged in ending
Last year the Government of Canada committed nearly $600 million in
funding over five years, until March 2019, to renew the HPS using a
Housing First approach.
Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, the Government has approved
over $740 million for projects to prevent and reduce homelessness
Through Budget 2014, we are building on previous actions, working with
other levels of government, communities and organizations to implement
a Housing First approach starting in April 2014.
The Government invested $110 million over five years (2008-2013) in the
Mental Health Commission of Canada's At Home/Chez Soi project, which
was the largest study of its kind in the world. The project
demonstrated that the "Housing First" approach is highly effective in
reducing homelessness, as well as shelter and health care costs. Most
significantly, when the approach was used with participants who made
the greatest use of social services before being housed, $2.10 was
saved for every Housing First dollar invested.
"The Government of Canada is committed to helping vulnerable Canadians
through Housing First, a proven evidence-based model that will deliver
better results for those in need. The approach involves moving homeless
individuals into immediate and permanent housing, then offering support
for addictions, mental illnesses and life skills development. This
model has worked internationally, and it has shown clear success in
communities across Canada."
- The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)
Homelessness Partnering Strategy
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
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.
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
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
For more information on the HPS and Housing First, visit esdc.gc.ca/homelessness.
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information:
To arrange an interview with Minister Bergen, please contact:
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Follow us on Twitter