SASKATOON, March 16, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Harper Government is providing funding of over $465,000 to two local organizations for projects that will prevent and combat homelessness in Saskatoon. Kelly Block, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Saskatoon–Rosetown–Biggar, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development. Through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. is receiving over $150,000 to hire and train a full-time Housing Locator to help clients find secure housing. It is also receiving over $55,000 to complete renovations at its supported living facility.
Also through the HPS, the Saskatoon Indian Métis Friendship Centre is receiving over $223,000 to hire a coordinator and two support workers to help clients find safe and affordable housing, and over $35,000 for renovations to expand its services.
In 2014, Ms. Block announced that the Government is providing more than $5.6 million over five years to the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership, under the HPS, as it implements Housing First, a proven, evidence‑based approach to end homelessness. The funding announced today is being provided through the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership.
Housing First is the cornerstone of the Government's renewed HPS. It aims to stabilize the lives of homeless individuals for the long term by first moving them into permanent housing and then providing additional support for underlying issues, such as addiction and mental health. The end goal is ensuring these individuals become self‑sufficient, fully participating members of society.
Through the HPS, the Government of Canada works with other levels of government, communities and organizations to develop and invest in local solutions to combat homelessness. The Government recently announced the renewal of the HPS with an investment of nearly $600 million in funding over five years, until March 2019.
- The Housing First approach came into effect on April 1, 2014, and is being introduced gradually across the country over the next two years with specified funding targets, taking into account varying capacity and resources among communities.
- On April 8, 2014, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released the final report of the At Home/Chez Soi project. It was the largest study of its kind and provided strong evidence that Housing First is an effective way to reduce homelessness.
- Over the course of the MHCC study, an average of 73 percent of participants in the Housing First group remained in stable housing, compared to 32 percent for the group receiving usual care.
- The study also showed that Housing First is a sound financial investment that can lead to significant cost savings. For those participants that were the highest users of emergency and social services, every $10 invested led to an average savings to government of $21.72.
- Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, nearly 35,000 Canadians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have benefitted from education and training opportunities; over 34,000 have received help to find work; and almost 6,000 new shelter beds have been created.
"We are pleased to partner with the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership and other local organizations to implement Housing First in Saskatoon. Our goal for individuals coming out of homelessness is for them to thrive and secure employment so they can contribute their many skills and talent to our communities." – The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development
"Our Government is proud to support the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership and its partners, The Lighthouse Supported Living and the Saskatoon Indian Métis Friendship Centre, and all the work they do in Saskatoon. With a roof over their heads, all Canadians can prosper as we work together towards eliminating homelessness." – Kelly Block, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Saskatoon–Rosetown–Biggar