Minister Bergen congratulates CMHA for the grand opening of the House of Hope in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MB, Feb. 11, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development, today congratulated the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Central Region for the grand opening of the House of Hope complex in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Funding for this project helped to build eight transitional housing units and a storage space and to improve existing housing.

The Canadian Mental Health Association's House of Hope received more than $1 million in federal funding for their project. The funding was provided through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (2011–2014) Rural and Remote Homelessness stream, which aims to prevent and reduce homelessness in rural and remote areas across Canada.

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. In 2013, the Government announced the renewal of HPS with an investment of nearly $600 million in funding over five years, until March 2019.  

Quick Facts

  • In Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government announced an investment of almost $600 million over five years to renew the HPS using a Housing First approach as an effective way to reduce homelessness.
  • On June 20, 2014, Minister Bergen announced HPS funding of over $35 million for Manitoba.
  • With the Province of Manitoba, Minister Bergen announced $104 million in funding for affordable housing in Manitoba on July 29, 2014. Since 2006, the federal government has invested over $16.5 billion in housing, including $900 million in Manitoba.
  • Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, nearly 34,000 Canadians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have benefitted from education and training opportunities; over 32,000 have received help to find work; and more than 5,770 new shelter beds have been created.


"Our Government has taken action to prevent and reduce homelessness because we want all Canadians to be able to prosper. With the grand opening of the House of Hope, we are witnessing a concrete example of how we can move out of crisis mode in terms of managing homelessness and work towards eliminating it altogether. With their lives on track, individuals are then able to gain skills which lead to jobs."
–The Honorable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development

"CMHA Central Portage Branch is pleased to announce the grand re-opening of House of Hope. Its eight suites will assist those who need safe, affordable and adequate housing. We can only do this with the assistance of our partner, Brandon Neighborhood Renewal Corporation, and through the funding of the Government of Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Everyone deserves a warm, safe place to sleep at night."
Leisa Miness, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association – Central Region

Associated Links

Homelessness Partnering Strategy
Funding News Release, January 20, 2014

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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, using a 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, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Government invested $110 million in the Mental Health Commission of Canada to undertake our own landmark study. The results demonstrated that:

  • 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; and
  • it works in the long term. 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 get in trouble with the law, and those who received both housing and supportive services showed more signs of recovery than those who did not.

Community Entity Model

HPS funding is delivered to eligible communities primarily through the Community Entity (CE) delivery model, except in the cases of Rural and Remote funding in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, where Service Canada is responsible for delivery. In Quebec, the HPS is delivered through a Canada–Quebec agreement that respects the jurisdictions and priorities of both governments in addressing homelessness.

Under the CE model, the federal government entrusts a community body, often a community's municipal government, to select and manage HPS projects in their area. All requests for funding must go through the CE. In addition, all requests for funding are assessed and recommended to the CE through a community advisory board or a regional advisory board, composed of a wide range of community stakeholders.

Implementation of the renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy

The implementation of the renewed HPS is delivered through the following three funding streams, which provide funding to communities across Canada to support them in addressing homelessness. The Housing First approach, part of the renewed HPS, is being phased in with specified funding targets, taking into account varying capacity and resources among communities.

1) Designated Communities

A total of 61 communities across Canada (including those in Quebec) that have a significant problem with homelessness have been selected to receive ongoing support to address this issue. These communities—mostly urban centres—are given funding that must be matched with contributions from other sources. Funded projects must support priorities identified through a community planning process.

  • Starting April 1, 2015, the largest designated communities will be required to invest at least 65 percent of HPS Designated Communities funding in Housing First activities.
  • Starting April 1, 2016, other designated communities receiving at least $200,000 in HPS funding will be required to invest at least 40 percent of HPS Designated Communities funding in Housing First activities.
  • Designated communities that receive under $200,000 in HPS funding or are located in the North will be encouraged to implement Housing First but will not be required to meet set targets.

2) Aboriginal Homelessness

Through the Aboriginal Homelessness funding stream, the HPS partners with Aboriginal groups to ensure that services meet the unique needs of off-reserve homeless Aboriginal people in cities and rural areas.

  • Starting April 1, 2016, communities that receive more than $200,000 in HPS funding will be required to invest at least 40 percent of HPS Aboriginal Homelessness funding in Housing First activities.
  • Communities that receive less than $200,000 in funding under the HPS Aboriginal Homelessness funding stream will be encouraged to implement Housing First but will not be required to meet set targets.

Please note that the unique needs of all First Nations, Inuit, Métis and non-status Indians are considered, and that off-reserve Aboriginal people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness can also access services under the Designated Communities and Rural and Remote Homelessness funding streams.

3) Rural and Remote Homelessness

The Rural and Remote Homelessness funding stream of the HPS funds projects in rural and remote areas of Canada outside the 61 designated communities.

  • This stream has adopted a two‑tiered approach that is based on the rural population. Priority is given to projects in communities with populations of 25,000 and under (Tier 1).
  • In order to maximize the access of HPS funding to as many communities as possible across the country, activities in larger, non-designated communities with populations above 25,000 (Tier 2) may also be funded depending on the availability of funds.


SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,,


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