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 to administer Reaching Home in the Greater Victoria community.
Within this community based initiative, the CRD is administering a five-year agreement under the Designated Communities Program for $4.7 million, and a one-year agreement under the Indigenous Communities Program for approximately $337,000. Both programs will continue to fund services that support the needs of those experiencing homelessness in the region.
Funding for the five-year Designated Communities funding stream will be 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). Currently the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is the CAB for Designated and Indigenous funding streams. A Call for Proposals is now open from November 12 - December 16, 2019 for allocations under the Designated Communities Program for 2020-2021.
Funding for the Indigenous Homelessness Program is currently supporting the delivery of holistic and culturally-appropriate responses to the unique needs of Indigenous People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Government of Canada is currently consulting with Indigenous stakeholders to determine the governance and administration to support the future delivery of this program. While this is underway, and to ensure continuation of this funding, the CRD has been informed that the Government of Canada intends to enter into an agreement with the CRD that supports the CRD remaining as the administrator of this funding for the year 2020-21. A Call for Proposals is now open from December 9, 2019 - January 6, 2020 for allocations under the Indigenous Homelessness Program for 2020-2021.
2019-20 Funded Reaching Home Programs
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.
Pacifica Housing - Landlord Liaison Project
Pacifica's Landlord Liaison project funds one staff position, shared with Island Health, to develop and maintain relationships with community landlords to build a pool of private sector units available for their clients. The project supports Reaching Home-funded organizations to find market housing for their clients and shares best practices with organizations' outreach workers. The project provides landlord liaison services to Reaching Home-funded agencies by coordinating with case managers and clients to determine appropriate housing options, unit viewings document signing, and assisting with move-in logistics, along with re-housing where required.
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 - Building Self-Sufficiency Capacity in Youth
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.
Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness - Culturally Appropriate Strategies
The Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) is receiving funding to provide additional capacity to support networking with community partners and engagement with First Nations whose members are homeless in the Capital Region. The Associate Director & Community Strategist will be involved with Coordinated Access, represent the ACEH at local tables to influence system improvement and provide additional capacity to the ACEH as the Executive Director focuses on the development and implementation of an Indigenous housing program.
Community Social Planning Council - 2020 Point in Time Count
The Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria is being funded to coordinate and conduct the 2020 Coordinated Point in Time Count and survey in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area. The Point in Time Count objectives are to identify a minimum estimate of the number of people experiencing homelessness on a given night, and to conduct a survey of the homeless population to identify demographic information and service needs of people experiencing homelessness so that community resources can be targeted where they are most needed. This project will also provide data analysis and results reporting.
Victoria Cool Aid Society - Towards Health and Well Being Through Cultural Supports
The Victoria Cool Aid Society has partnered with the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) to house chronically homeless Indigenous people and provide cultural supports. Cool Aid has furnished 20 independent units of housing and has a resource room in a low-barrier, culturally relevant environment. 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, job readiness training and support to connect with clinical services.
Victoria Native Friendship Centre - Client Life Skills Development Program
The Victoria Native Friendship Center's Client Life Skills Development Program is funded to provide a Tenant Support Worker who supports clients in 49 units of supportive housing. VNFC operates supportive housing for Indigenous clients and assists them to find a more permanent place to live once they are ready. The Tenant Support Worker provides culturally appropriate life skills coaching and programs for Indigenous clients and families who are homeless and at risk of homelessness, to attain and maintain safe, healthy, affordable long-term housing. Clients are offered referrals to community supports, life skills education and support, culturally appropriate activities to nurture cultural connections, financial literacy workshops, education support and tenancy support to prevent housing loss.
Our Place Society - Aboriginal Housing Advocates
Our Place Society is funded to provide an Aboriginal Housing Advocate to find housing for homeless Indigenous clients and support them in their housing. The Aboriginal Housing Advocate also helps Indigenous clients with pre-employment support, support to access education programs and to engage them in cultural activities. This project provides an important link to the Indigenous homeless community in downtown Victoria. The focus on providing a safe space and cultural activities promotes trust and allows the Aboriginal Advocate to provide housing for Indigenous clients who might not otherwise come forward. Our Place refers clients to other organizations for housing, such as Pacifica Housing and Victoria Native Friendship Centre.