HARDWICKE, NB, July 31, 2015 /CNW/ - Tilly O'Neill Gordon, Member of Parliament for Miramichi, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development, today announced a Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative (SFRPHI) acquisition by Habitat for Humanity Moncton Area, a not-for-profit organization in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Through SFRPHI, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police building is being transferred for $1 to offer affordable, longer-term housing for a low-income family at risk of homelessness. With this acquisition, Habitat for Humanity Moncton Area will provide an affordable housing solution to a family.
- The Government of Canada has committed nearly $600 million in total funding over five years, until March 2019, to renew the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), with a focus on the Housing First approach.
- SFRPHI is one of the HPS funding streams.
- SFRPHI makes surplus federal real properties available to communities for projects that help stabilize the living arrangements of individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
- Thanks to the Government of Canada's partnerships and smart investments, more affordable rental options are available to families and individuals.
- Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, nearly 35,000 Canadians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have benefited from education and training opportunities; over 34,000 have received help to find work; and more than 6,000 new shelter beds have been created.
"Through collaboration and strong partnerships, our Government is proud to offer available properties to organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity Moncton Area, that provide stable and affordable housing to low-income families at risk of homelessness."
–Tilly O'Neill Gordon, Member of Parliament for Miramichi
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 in all provinces and territories, as well as to Aboriginal, rural and remote communities across Canada, to help them address homelessness.
Economic Action Plan 2013 renewed the HPS with nearly $600 million in total funding over five years, ending in March 2019, with a focus on the Housing First approach.
Until recently, the most common way to deal with homelessness has been a "crisis-based" model—not just in Canada, but in many developed countries. This model involves relying heavily on shelters and other emergency interventions. Typically, individuals must first participate in a series of treatments and demonstrate sobriety before they are offered housing. This approach has been costly and not effective for the long term.
Without stable housing, it is much more difficult to participate in treatment programs and manage mental and physical health issues. This leads to high costs for emergency housing, hospitalization, shelters, prisons and a host of other crisis services.
Housing First, on the other hand, involves ensuring individuals have immediate housing before providing the necessary supports to help them stabilize their lives. Experiences in other countries have demonstrated that this approach shows great promise.
In 2008, the Government invested $110 million in the Mental Health Commission of Canada to undertake our own landmark study. The results demonstrated the following:
- Housing First rapidly ends homelessness and leads to other positive outcomes for quality of life.
- It is a sound financial investment that can lead to significant cost savings. Every $10 invested led to an average savings to government of $21.72 for participants who used emergency and social services the most.
- It works in the long term. Over the course of the study, participants in the Housing First group spent an average of 73 percent of their time in stable housing, compared to 32 percent for the group receiving usual care.
Overall, participants in the study were less likely to come into conflict with the law, and those who received both housing and supportive services showed more signs of recovery than those who did not.
Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative
The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative (SFRPHI) is one of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) funding streams. It makes surplus federal real properties available to communities for projects that help stabilize the living arrangements of individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Since its inception, SFRPHI has proven to be an effective way of supporting communities in their effort to prevent and reduce homelessness. At the same time, it ensures that surplus federal real properties continue to further the objectives of the federal government even after they have outlived their original purpose.
SOURCE Canada's Economic Action Plan
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