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Minister Bergen addresses homelessness conference in Chicago

Speaks to Canada's leadership and experience with Housing First as a model to reduce homelessness

CHICAGO, IL, March 13, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), told an international conference today how the Government of Canada is taking concrete action to address homelessness in Canada through the Housing First approach. As part of the renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), the approach helps stabilize the lives of homeless people by moving them into permanent housing and providing supports.

Housing First is effective in reducing chronic homelessness while alleviating pressure on shelter, health and judicial services. Once stable housing is obtained, the focus shifts to addressing more ongoing issues, such as addictions or mental health. The approach also helps individuals become self-sufficient and fully participate in society.

Minister Bergen delivered her speech at the 2014 international Housing First Partners Conference (HFPC), which featured approximately 100 presentations and plenary sessions from experts engaged in ending homelessness.

Quick Facts

  • Last year the Government of Canada committed nearly $600 million in funding over five years, until March 2019, to renew the HPS using a Housing First approach.
  • Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, the Government has approved over $740 million for projects to prevent and reduce homelessness across Canada.
  • Through Budget 2014, we are building on previous actions, working with other levels of government, communities and organizations to implement a Housing First approach starting in April 2014.
  • The Government invested $110 million over five years (2008-2013) in the Mental Health Commission of Canada's At Home/Chez Soi project, which was the largest study of its kind in the world. The project demonstrated that the "Housing First" approach is highly effective in reducing rates of homelessness and reducing shelter and health care services costs. Most significantly, when the approach was used with participants who made the greatest use of social services before being housed, $2.10 was saved for every Housing First dollar invested.

Quote

"The Government of Canada is committed to helping vulnerable Canadians through Housing First, a proven evidence-based model that will deliver better results for those in need. The approach involves moving homeless individuals into immediate and permanent housing, then offering support for addictions, mental illnesses and life skills development. This model has worked internationally, and it has shown clear success in communities across Canada."
- The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)

Backgrounder

  • Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Associated Links

Backgrounder

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 across Canada.

The Housing First approach recognizes that housing stability is an important first step in addressing homelessness. It is also necessary for the success of other interventions such as education and training, the development of life skills and the management of mental health issues.

Housing First involves giving people who are homeless first a place to live, and then the necessary supports (e.g. for mental illness) to help them stabilize their lives and recover as best as possible.

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

For more information on the HPS and Housing First, visit esdc.gc.ca/homelessness.

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

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