Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

April 24, 2008 10:33 ET

The Government of Canada Delivers Support to Homeless Youth in St. John's

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(Marketwire - April 24, 2008) - Vulnerable youth in St. John's working to break free from the cycles of homelessness and poverty and build a stronger future for themselves are getting help from the Government of Canada.

The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, today announced $300,000 in funding towards Choices for Youth under the Government's Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS).

"Our government is delivering on its commitment to help youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless," said Minister Hearn. "We are proud to support community efforts that help find local solutions to local problems. With this investment, Choices for Youth will be able to implement initiatives that will help young people right here in St. John's."

Choices for Youth received $300,000 in HPS funding to undertake renovations to a building it owns. It will also develop the building's top two floors into 14 self-contained supportive housing units in an environment that reflects a community spirit and emphasizes the supports available to youth. The bottom floor of the facility will operate a pre-employment program and a basic math and literacy skills program. Youth will work on site with contractors and trades people to gain valuable trades-related and employment skills during the construction and renovation of the facility. These programs are currently run in partnership with the Community Youth Network.

"This project will enable us to enhance and expand our programs and services," said Mr. Sheldon Pollett, Executive Director of Choices for Youth. "We will be able to offer safe and affordable housing while offering skills development and employment opportunities as well. Everyone involved is really excited about this project."

The HPS is providing $269.6 million over two years to help communities across Canada combat homelessness more effectively. The Strategy recognizes that housing stability is essential to self-sufficiency and full participation in Canadian society. It focuses on transitional and supportive housing as important measures to help people overcome homelessness. With its clear goals of improved partnerships, enhanced sustainability and tangible results, the strategy will provide concrete, meaningful and lasting results for Canadians in need.

"Our government is investing more in affordable and supportive housing than any federal government in Canada's history, and as a result we are helping tens of thousands of Canadians reach a better, more stable life," said Minister Hearn.

The link between homelessness and mental illness is well established. In 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the first-ever Mental Health Commission of Canada, and in Budget 2008, the Government committed $110 million for the Commission to develop new innovative demonstration projects that will help Canadians facing mental health and homelessness challenges.

For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, please visit
www.homelessness.gc.ca.


BACKGROUNDER

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) began on April 1, 2007. The Strategy is providing $269.6 million over two years to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada. The HPS is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness in Canada by providing funding and direct support to more than 60 communities across Canada.

Under the HPS, the Government of Canada is offering to work in partnership with all provinces and territories. Once put in place, such partnerships would encourage better alignment of federal and provincial/territorial investments, and help to provide a seamless continuum of supports for homeless people.

The HPS has three main initiatives: the Homelessness Partnership Initiative, the Homelessness Accountability Network and the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative.

The Homelessness Partnership Initiative (HPI) is the cornerstone of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Its housing-first approach recognizes that the first step is to provide individuals with transitional and supportive housing.

The HPI has four funding components:

- Designated Communities

- Outreach Communities

- Aboriginal Communities

- Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects

The Homelessness Accountability Network helps to strengthen program accountability. It also develops knowledge and encourages organizations to reinforce their networks and share best practices.

The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative makes surplus federal property as well as land available to community organizations, the not-for-profit sector, and other levels of government, for projects to prevent and reduce homelessness.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

  • Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559
    or
    Service Canada
    Megret Yabsley
    Acting Regional Manager, Communications
    Newfoundland and Labrador Region, St. John's
    709-772-6541
    or
    Choices for Youth
    Sheldon Pollett
    Executive Director
    709-754-3047