Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy is a community-based program aimed at reducing and preventing homelessness. Officially launched April 1, 2019, the Government of Canada's homelessness program supports the most vulnerable people in the Capital Region by improving access to safe, stable and affordable housing. Employment and Social Development Canada has awarded Reaching Home funding to the CRD as the Community Entity to administer Reaching Home in the Greater Victoria community.

Reaching Home Program 2019-2024

From 2019-2024, the CRD will be administering a $11.5-million, five-year agreement under the Designated Communities Program. This program continues to fund services that support the needs of those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in the region.

The CRD acted as the administrator for the Reaching Home Indigenous Homelessness funding from 2019-2022. As of April 1, 2022, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre is the community entity supporting this program. 

Funding for the five-year Designated Communities funding stream is being allocated to initiatives that address outcomes identified in the 2019-2024 Community Plan To End Homelessness, and are recommended by the Reaching Home Community Advisory Board (CAB). In January 2021, the CRD formed a new CAB to make recommendations towards the use of Designated Communities funding.

Reaching Home COVID-19 Emergency Response Program

In March 2020, the Government of Canada announced $1,312,852 in Reaching Home COVID-19 Emergency Response funding to be administered by the CRD. This funding was focused on temporarily supporting people at risk of or experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak. On October 10, 2020, the Government of Canada allocated an additional $1,918,197 of Reaching Home COVID-19 funding, for a total of $3,231,049. Of this total, $2,261,734 is allocated to the Designated Communities funding stream and $969,315 to the Indigenous Homelessness funding stream. 

As of August 31, 2021 all Reaching Home COVID-19 Emergency Response funding had been allocated.

Current Reaching Home Funded Programs: 

Beacon Community Associaton - Homelessness Prevention Fund

Beacon Community Association is receiving Designated Communities Funding to provide one-time emergency assistance subsidies for individuals and families who are in financial threat of losing their housing. These subsidies are available monthly and can be used for rent, utilities and security deposit. Although the applicant is not required to pay back the subsidy, they are required to demonstrate an understanding of their obligations to their tenancy and present a plan that outlines their ability to meet their financial requirements to maintain their housing.

Burnside Gorge Community Association – Supporting Families Transitioning to Permanency

Burnside Gorge provides support and financial assistance to unhoused and vulnerably housed families in transitioning to permanent housing. This includes casework support to help families identify their needs, assisting them in securing housing, and providing landlord/tenant services. Once housing is secured, the project provides financial support with damage deposits, first/last month's rent, moving, furniture, basic groceries and supplies at move-in.

CRD - Community Planner

The Community Planner works within the CRD and actively collaborates with its partners in delivering the Coordinated Access & Assessment system and Homeless Individuals & Families Information System in the region, and support the implementation of these systems that effect the integration of new housing assets into the range of housing available to help reduce or eliminate chronic homelessness in the region.

John Howard Society - Housing Access Team

John Howard Society provides housing access, landlord liaison and support for unhoused individuals or those living in transitional or supportive housing in moving to and stabilizing in permanent independent housing. This includes provision of temporary accommodation and short-term (three month) rental for those waiting or in transition, damage deposit, first and last month's rent, and moving expenses/storage/basic household supplies. Once housed, ongoing support in maintaining tenancies is also provided.

Pacifica - Community Connections Program

The Community Connections program transitions and places vulnerable individuals with history of homelessness into Pacifica independent housing from supported housing as units come available. If no units are immediately available, it supports clients while they wait. Additionally, this program provides support to vulnerable Pacifica Housing tenants living in independent housing units, who have a history of homelessness or have transitioned from supportive housing, in maintaining their tenancies. This includes short-term rent supplements, utility deposits/payments, education and support around tenancies, and basic needs supplies.

Pacifica Housing - Streets to Homes

This project funds housing outreach workers who are working with clients with a history of chronic or episodic homelessness to locate market housing, support them in their housing, and re-house them if necessary. BC Housing provides rent supplements for these clients to make the rent more affordable. The Streets to Homes project is a collaborative community initiative designed to address homelessness in the community. It has a large network of housing resources and landlords, and provides supports by community referrals. This project is connected to other housing providers in the community and coordinates referrals to their program through shelters and drop in centers, along with many other portals.

Peers Victoria Resources - Housing Outreach and Support

Peers provides housing and case management services to people in or from the sex industry who are chronically or episodically homeless. Housing outreach and support workers are providing assistance in locating rental housing, help with moving and storage, administration of rent supplements, support to secure income assistance and to apply for housing, and services that help with life skills and financial assistance through connections with Provincial ministries. The housing support worker liaises with shelter and other housing support providers in the region to co-serve clients looking for housing and to share related costs. Peers provides an innovative complement to the existing housing and shelter supports with a unique target population of current and former sex workers. Their service model is harm reduction oriented and based on peer leadership.

Threshold Housing - Youth Homelessness Prevention & Housing Stabilitization

Threshold Housing is funded to provide staff and support services for a wrap-around youth transitional housing program. Activities target at-risk youth ages 16-24. As youth become more stable, they graduate to more independent living situations. Threshold helps at risk youth build self-reliance by providing transitional housing, life skills supports, referrals to outside agencies, preparation for tenancy, financial literacy, cooking classes, social activities, pre-employment support, housing loss prevention, and school completion as required.

Victoria Cool Aid Society - Indigenous Tenant and Cultural Supports

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is providing housing and cultural supports to Indigenous people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The program funds an Indigenous Client Services worker and Elders, along with a rich variety of cultural activities, life skills education and support, contact with Elders, and supports to connect with clinical services.

Victoria Cool Aid Society

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is being funded from April 1, 2021 - March 31, 2024 for a Client Service Worker to support clients who are ready to move from supportive housing into more independent, affordable rental housing in the CRD. The Client Support Worker will provide supports to people as they move into more independent affordable housing. This will free up supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness in the community.