Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Government of British Columbia

Government of British Columbia

July 14, 2010 12:00 ET

Governments of Canada and British Columbia Help Those who are Homeless or at Risk of Homelessness in New Westminster

NEW WESTMINSTER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 14, 2010) - Thanks to support from the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, individuals with mental illnesses or addictions who are homeless or at risk of homelessness will be able to benefit from new safe housing. Senator Yonah Martin, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and Mr. Harry Bloy, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Burnaby–Lougheed, made the announcement today.

"Our government is giving a hand-up to Canadians with housing needs, and is helping those seeking to break free from the cycle of homelessness and poverty," said Senator Martin. "We are pleased to work with the Fraserside Community Services Society to help the Society provide these important services to fight homelessness in New Westminster."

The Fraserside Community Services Society will receive Homelessness Partnering Strategy funding of $500,000, which will be used by the Society to continue the development of its Hunter Heights Supported Transitional Housing Project. Hunter Heights is an existing apartment building that the organization is converting into a transitional housing facility. It will provide 37 supported transitional housing units for individuals with mental illnesses or addictions who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, as well as their families, in the New Westminster area.

Two other major funders took part in the project. The Province of British Columbia provided $1 million in funding, while the Real Estate Foundation of BC provided an additional $250,000.

"Working in partnership with different levels of government and community organizations like the Fraserside Community Services Society has brought us closer to breaking the cycle of homelessness in New Westminster and in communities across B.C.," said Mr. Bloy. "Hunter Heights provides a safe home and on-site support services to allow individuals to gain greater self-reliance, and achieve appropriate employment."

"Our mission is to support sustainable real estate and land use practices for the benefit of British Columbians," said Mr. Jack Hall, of the Real Estate Foundation Chair. "We congratulate the Society on the Hunter Heights project, which is creating much-needed housing and support services for its clients."

In addition to the federal support, the Society itself is investing over $1.25 million in this important project.

"This $500,000 grant has provided the necessary support to ensure the ongoing sustainability of housing for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness at Hunter Heights," said Ms. Caroline Bonesky, Executive Director of the Fraserside Community Services Society. "The federal government has played a critical role in Fraserside's ability to meet the real and ongoing need of reducing homelessness on the streets of New Westminster. We are proud of our strong partnership with the federal government, and we look forward to continuing to build our relationship in the future."

In September 2008, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $1.9 billion over five years, until 2014, 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 has built 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.

Increasing affordable housing, reducing homelessness and helping those who cannot help themselves are key components of the Province of British Columbia's agenda. Through Housing Matters BC, the Province is addressing a range of housing needs, from homelessness to affordable rental housing and homeownership. Further details about affordable housing in British Columbia can be found at www.bchousing.org.

In 2010–2011, the Province will invest over $562 million—more than four times as much as in 2001—to provide affordable housing and supports to reduce 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
    or
    BC Housing
    Rhonda Nguyen
    604-439-4740
    604-374-8301 (cell)