Province funds winter response strategy for homeless in Vancouver

The government is providing $1.6 million for 80 additional temporary winter shelter spaces, as well as rent supplements, for people who are homeless

Province funds winter response strategy for homeless in Vancouver
Photo of Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing Rich Coleman by Province of BC via Flickr

The B.C. government is providing $1.6 million for 80 additional temporary winter shelter spaces, as well as rent supplements, for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Vancouver, according to a press release.

The City of Vancouver is providing the buildings. The city has opened temporary winter shelters at 900 Pacific Ave. and at Pender & Commercial. The shelters, operated by Rain City Housing, will be open until April 30, 2015.

"The Province is again recognizing the needs of the homeless in Vancouver and with the addition of 80 shelter spaces, outreach teams and rent assistance, we can meet a greater range of needs in the community,” said Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing Minister Rich Coleman in the release. “We continue to operate permanent year-round shelter spaces and the new supportive housing we are opening in the city is making a difference."

Currently, there are more than 840 permanent, year-round shelter beds and approximately 200 temporary year-round Homeless Emergency Action Team (HEAT) shelter beds in Vancouver.

In October, the Province also funded the opening of an additional 30 temporary shelter beds for men at the Harbour Lights complex in Vancouver.

Over the last five years, the B.C. government has provided funding to support a range of temporary housing options during the winter season for people at risk of homelessness in Vancouver. Almost 500 people have transitioned through these services to permanent housing.

"Our partnership with the Province is helping people move from the streets and into safe shelters and homes,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Whether it's collaborating on Winter Response Shelters or new housing on our 14 sites, we've seen more than 1,400 people move from the streets and shelters into permanent housing since 2009. We're committed to continuing that progress and making sure no one has to sleep outside at night in our city."

Funding increases since 2007 mean that most shelters are now open 24/7. People do not have to line up at night - they can remain safe and stable while being connected to community services including more stable housing, according to the release.

As well, the Province is providing $360,000 to Carnegie Outreach Services for rent supplements and support services to help people who are homeless obtain housing in the private market.

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