Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

May 19, 2010 13:00 ET

Government of Canada Helps Those Who Are Homeless or at Risk of Homelessness in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 19, 2010) - A new six-level housing and emergency shelter facility will be made available to homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness, thanks to support from the Government of Canada. Mr. Andrew Saxton, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"Our government is giving a hand-up to Canadians with housing needs and is helping those seeking to break free of the cycle of homelessness and poverty," said Mr. Saxton. "Through this investment, the Union Gospel Mission will support safe, affordable housing in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and will be able to help Canadians get back on their feet."

The Union Gospel Mission will receive $500,000 through the Government of Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy to contribute to the costs of building a six-storey transitional and supportive housing and emergency shelter facility. Once completed, the facility will contain 31 emergency shelter beds, 12 beds for clients committed to remaining sober and over 100 residential suites for homeless individuals who wish to obtain support to recover from drug and alcohol addictions. This emergency shelter will also have a drop-in centre, a kitchen, a dining room, training rooms and meeting space.

"We are grateful to the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, and the City of Vancouver for their substantial contributions to this project," said Mr. William B. Mollard, President of the Union Gospel Mission. "Whether someone comes through these doors for a meal, a night of shelter, addiction recovery, or to have a home here through long-term supportive housing, they will enter a place of hope and dignity. We are thrilled to partner with all three levels of government to make that happen."

The Province of British Columbia and City of Vancouver were also important contributors in this project. They provided $12 million and $1.2 million, respectively, under the Provincial Homelessness Initiative. The funding was announced in July 2009.

"The Province is committed to improving access to housing and support services for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness," said the Honourable Mary McNeil, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Vancouver–False Creek and Minister of State for the Olympics and ActNow BC. "Together, community leaders and all levels of government are investing in solutions like the Union Gospel Mission's new building, which will provide a healthy, safe environment in the Downtown Eastside for years to come."

"The Union Gospel Mission is known throughout Vancouver for its contribution to assisting some of our most vulnerable citizens," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. "This new facility will allow Union Gospel to expand its good work, and will help move us closer to our goal of ending street homelessness by 2015."

In September 2008, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $1.9 billion over five years for housing and homelessness programs for low-income Canadians. This commitment gives the Government the flexibility to work with the provinces and territories and municipalities, and with charitable organizations, to develop ways to improve the effectiveness of federal spending in the area of housing and homelessness.

Canada's Economic Action Plan is building on these investments by making an additional one-time investment of more than $2 billion over two years in new and existing social housing, and by making available up to $2 billion in loans to Canadian municipalities over two years for housing-related infrastructure improvements. The Government's investments are creating jobs, stimulating local economies and improving the quality of life for many Canadians. To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, please visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

The availability of safe and stable housing and related supports is an important element in addressing homelessness and helping individuals who are homeless achieve greater self-sufficiency and a better quality of life. The Homelessness Partnering Strategy emphasizes longer-term supportive and transitional housing by focusing on a housing-first approach to help people make the transition out of the cycle of homelessness.

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

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

BACKGROUNDER

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 communities across Canada. The HPS took effect April 1, 2007, with annual funding of $134.8 million for two years, and was extended in 2008 for a further two years until March 31, 2011. 

The HPS provides structures and supports that help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless achieve self-sufficiency and full participation in society. This model seeks to address homelessness by working in partnership with the provinces and territories, other federal departments, as well as with communities and the private and not-for-profit sectors. 

By working with all our partners, we will maximize results to make a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable Canadians. The Homelessness Partnering Strategy provides the support that our community partners are seeking.

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy uses a housing-first approach, recognizing that the first step is to provide individuals with transitional and supportive housing.

The HPS has seven funding streams:

Regionally Delivered:

  • Designated Communities
  • Outreach Communities
  • Aboriginal Communities

Nationally Delivered:

  • Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects
  • Homelessness Knowledge Development
  • Homeless Individuals and Families Information System 
  • Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative

For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and the seven funding streams, please visit the following Web site: www.hrsdc.gc.ca/homelessness.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    819-994-2482
    or
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559