Minister Bergen launches Winnipeg homelessness study results and announces further investments for Housing First

WINNIPEG, June 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), today joined the Mental Health Commission of Canada for the release of the regional Winnipeg homelessness study results, which are part of the world-leading At Home/Chez Soi project. The Minister also announced the Harper government's investment of more than $28 million through the City of Winnipeg to support projects that prevent and reduce homelessness, including projects that address the needs of the Aboriginal homeless population.

Results from the study revealed that using a Housing First approach, which gives people who are homeless a place to live and then provides the necessary supports to help them stabilize their lives, is an effective way to reduce homelessness and help those with mental illness, including the Aboriginal homeless population.

Economic Action Plan 2013 announced the renewal of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, using the evidence-based Housing First approach. The Government of Canada, provinces and territories, other federal departments, as well as communities and the private and not-for-profit sectors are working together to help Canadians reintegrate into their communities and become contributing members of society.

Quick Facts

  • At Home/Chez Soi project was initiated in 2008 thanks to a $110 million investment over five years (2008-2013) from the Harper government. The most comprehensive study of homelessness of its kind in the world, the study sites included Moncton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montréal. More than 2,000 Canadians with mental illness experiencing homelessness were followed in the study; 513 participants were followed at the Winnipeg site.

  • The national results show that for every $10 spent on Housing First, $21 was saved in health, justice, and social services.

  • Last year, the Government of Canada committed nearly $600 million in funding over five years, until March 2019, to renew the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) using a Housing First approach.

  • Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, nearly 25,000 Canadians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have benefitted 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.


"Thanks to this world-leading study, we have the evidence that Housing First works. The results specific to Winnipeg clearly indicate that Housing First can rapidly end homelessness among different groups, including Aboriginal people in our urban centres, while also being a sound financial investment."
- The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)

"We are pleased to partner with the City of Winnipeg to implement Housing First. Through this new 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)

"The Mental Health Commission of Canada's At Home/Chez Soi project has clearly shown that the Housing First approach can be adapted to meet the needs of communities across the country. We applaud the federal government's investment in this world-class body of research, and we are delighted to see the quick action they have taken in response to its findings. This translates into better use of public dollars to address homelessness among people with mental illness."
- Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada

"Over the years, we have seen the positive results Homelessness Partnering Strategy projects have in our community. Thanks to our partnerships with other levels of government and the Government of Canada's continued support, we are able to work together to help eliminate homelessness."
- Mike Pagtakhan, Councillor for Point Douglas, City of Winnipeg

Associated Links

Canada's Economic Action Plan
Related news release


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 evidence-based 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, developing life skills and managing 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 well as possible.

The availability of safe, stable housing and related supports is important in addressing homelessness and helping individuals who are homeless achieve greater self-sufficiency and a better quality of life.

The HPS provides structures and supports that help people who are homeless or at imminent 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.

The Harper government's investment of $28,786,720 through the City of Winnipeg is over five years.

For more information on the HPS and Housing First, visit

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

Lauren Brent
Office of the Minister

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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