Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

March 19, 2008 13:45 ET

Government of Canada Supports Saint John Shelters: Funding Will Help Young Mothers at First Steps Housing and Men at the Salvation Army

SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwire - March 19, 2008) - The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, was pleased today to visit two Saint John shelters, which have received funding through the federal government's Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). This funding will ensure that support is provided to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

"Our government is committed to helping Canadians who have hit tough times get the support they need to get back on their feet," said Minister Solberg. "Today, I am pleased to celebrate funding that will provide important services and support to young mothers at First Step Housing, as well as to men at the Salvation Army shelter."

The Government of Canada is providing almost $280,000 to First Steps Housing and the Salvation Army Booth Residential Services through the federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

During a visit to the area today, the Minister first met with some of the residents of First Steps Housing, a shelter for young homeless women who are pregnant or have newborn babies. The organization, in partnership with the community, offers programs and services that give support and guidance to young mothers and their children.

"These women show us daily their strength and ability to overcome lives filled with difficulties and barriers," said Ms. Sharon Amirault, First Steps Housing Executive Director. "We have seen many women leave our program after eight months or so with an education, a clear direction and a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their children."

The Minister also visited the Salvation Army Booth Residential Services, which is the largest homeless shelter in Saint John. The shelter provides men who are homeless with compassionate and practical care in a secure environment, as well as with opportunities for a new beginning.

"The Salvation Army Booth Residential Services is extremely grateful to receive this funding through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy," said Executive Director Major Carson Durdle. "The monies will be used to upgrade our Residence, which will improve the health and safety of those at the shelter."

On February 22, 2008, Minister Solberg announced that 505 projects, totalling almost $150 million, have been approved since April 1, 2007, under the HPS to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada. The announcement today is part of that total figure.

Since April 1, 2007, the Government of Canada has invested more than $1.5 million for 33 projects in New Brunswick through the HPS.

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy 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 Solberg.

The link between homelessness and mental illness is well established. With Budget 2008, the Government is committed to developing solutions that will save lives by providing $110 million to the Mental Health Commission of Canada to support innovative demonstration projects to develop best practices to help Canadians facing mental health and homelessness challenges.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, please visit


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 the provinces and territories. Once put in place, such partnerships would encourage better alignment of federal, provincial and territorial investments, and help to provide a seamless continuum of supports for homeless people.

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

The Homelessness Partnership Initiative 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 is comprised of the following four funding components:

- Designated Communities;

- Outreach Communities;

- Aboriginal Communities; and

- 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 that help to prevent and reduce homelessness.

Contact Information

  • Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office