Minister Bergen officially opens "The Sanctuary" and highlights Government action to address homelessness

VANCOUVER, June 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), today spoke at the official opening of "The Sanctuary" in Vancouver. The Sanctuary, operated by Union Gospel Mission, offers customized programs for women with addiction and homelessness issues by providing a temporary home and one-on-one counselling.

Through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), the Government of Canada works with other levels of government, communities, and organizations, to develop and invest in local solutions to combat homelessness. The Government recently announced the renewal of HPS with an investment of nearly $600 million in funding over five years, until March 2019.

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada invested $131,334 in The Sanctuary.
  • Union Gospel Mission, based in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, provides residents with emergency shelter, meals, addiction counselling, affordable housing, and education and job preparation, and preventative programs to help build healthy families.
  • 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.
  • Through Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government is building on its previous efforts and partnerships to implement the evidence-based Housing First approach across Canada, which has proven to be the most effective approach in reducing homelessness.


"Our Government is committed to ensuring all Canadians have the opportunity to lead self-sufficient, productive lives contributing to their communities and the economy. We work with many partners to achieve this goal and congratulate the Union Gospel Mission on the opening of The Sanctuary."
- The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)

"We are thrilled to be able to open Union Gospel Mission's Stabilization Program for women, the first one of its kind in Vancouver. It is our commitment to help fill the gaps between detox and recovery for these women as best as possible. We express our deep gratitude to the Government of Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy, in partnership with Metro Vancouver, for funding the renovations of the east wing of the building, and helping to make this transformational step forward possible."
- Bill Mollard, President of Union Gospel Mission

Associated Link

Canada's Economic Action Plan


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 addictions and mental illness) to help them stabilize their lives and recover. The goal is to help individuals who are homeless achieve greater self-sufficiency, a better quality of life and become contributing members of society.

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.

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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