Homelessness has an economic and social impact on every community in Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to helping those who are in need and believes that one homeless Canadian is one too many.
Last week, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced the Government of Canada will be making bold changes to the federal strategy to prevent and reduce homelessness. Reaching Home, the Government of Canada’s redesigned homelessness strategy, will double support for communities to address the needs of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Through Reaching Home, the Government of Canada will reinforce its community-based approach, delivering funding directly to municipalities and local service providers. The strategy’s reach will also expand to new communities. New communities will be added through an application process to be launched later this year. This expansion will not affect the funding received by the existing 61 Designated Communities.
Communities participating in Reaching Home will work toward a 50% reduction in chronic homelessness over the next 10 years. Building on the successful adoption of Housing First as a best practice, the Government will work with communities to develop and deliver data-driven system plans with clear outcomes. This new outcomes-based approach will give communities greater flexibility to identify, test, and apply innovative solutions and evidence-based practices that achieve results for vulnerable Canadians.
Reaching Home funding will also provide communities with the tools they need to deliver systems plans, coordinated access to services, and better local data.
Reaching Home is part of Canada’s first-ever National Housing Strategy—a 10-year $40-billion plan to lift hundreds and thousands of Canadians out of housing need, resulting in up to 100,000 new housing units and 300,000 repaired or renewed housing units. This will create a new generation of housing in Canada. Our plan will promote diverse communities. It will build housing that is sustainable, accessible, mixed-income, and mixed-use. We will build housing that is fully integrated into the community—close to transit, close to work, and close to public services.The National Housing Strategy is part of the Government of Canada’s plan to build a more equal Canada for all, including the most vulnerable—one where women and men are empowered to make positive changes that benefit their own lives, and our economy as a whole.
In announcing the initiative, Jean-Yves Duclos said: “Everyone deserves a safe place to call home.” Over the past year, the Government of Canada consulted with municipalities, stakeholders, provinces, territories and Indigenous partners on how to improve the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) to better prevent and reduce homelessness across Canada. These consultations were guided by the work of an Advisory Committee of experts, stakeholders and those with lived experience of homelessness, chaired by Parliamentary Secretary (Housing and Urban Affairs) Adam Vaughan.
Mr. Vaughan noted: “As Chair of the Advisory Committee on Homelessness, I’m pleased that the Committee’s recommendations provided the building blocks for Reaching Home, the redesigned federal homelessness strategy announced today. By listening to each other, and in particular people with lived experience, and working together we can reduce homelessness in our communities.”
As part of the National Housing Strategy, the Government of Canada announced a total investment of $2.2 billion for homelessness over 10 years, building on Budget 2016 funding of $111.8 million over two years. By 2021–22, this will double annual investments compared to 2015–16. Reaching Home will replace the existing Homelessness Partnering Strategy and will officially launch April 1, 2019.