Government of Canada takes action to address homelessness in British Columbia

Government of Canada takes action to address homelessness in British Columbia

March 8, 2019                        Gibsons, British Columbia                    Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada is working in partnership with provinces and territories, communities and other stakeholders from the private and not-for-profit sectors to prevent and reduce homelessness. Today, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, announced the transfer of a property located in Gibsons, British Columbia, under the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative (SFRPHI).

The project announced today would provide 40 self-contained studio homes with on-site support to ensure people can achieve and maintain housing stability. The building located at 739/749 School Road, Gibsons, BC is a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment that would be demolished to make way for the supportive housing.

The Province, through BC Housing, would provide approximately $14 million in capital funding for the building, as well as approximately $1 million in annual operating funding. RainCity Housing, which has been successfully operating a temporary winter shelter in Gibsons for the past two winters, would operate the supportive housing.

BC Housing and RainCity Housing will work with local organizations to prioritize the local street and sheltered homeless people for this supportive housing. The supportive housing model put forward includes services such as peer mentoring and rehabilitation programs to help vulnerable individuals not only gain stable housing, but also improve their overall quality of life.

The project would be delivered under the Housing First approach, and the property will be transferred under SFRPHI, a funding stream of the Homelessness Partnering Stretegy. The Housing First approach focuses on moving people from the street or emergency shelters into permanent housing as rapidly as possible. As of March 31, 2019 the SFRPHI funding stream will be sunsetting and replaced by the Federal Lands Initiative (FLI) led by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The FLI, which is a $200-million funding stream is part of the larger Nartional Housing Strategy. 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.

The site will be subject to a rezoning and development-permit application process. If this supportive housing project is approved, construction is estimated to start in fall 2019, with the goal of occupancy for spring 2020.

Quotes

“Partnerships such as these with the Town of Gibsons, BC Housing and RainCity Housing are integral in building capacity for communities to prevent and reduce homelessness. By repurposing federal properties that have outlived their original use, collectively we are able to create safe, secure and affordable housing for the most vulnerable populations.”

– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“Being part of the SFRPHI is a chance for our government to make a positive, direct and long-term impact on vulnerable individuals in the Gibsons’ community. Fighting homelessness requires a collaborative approach, and that’s exactly what we are doing. Together with the public, private and non-profit sectors, we are ensuring housing initiatives benefit those who need it the most while helping prevent and reduce homelessness across Canada.”

– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

“The Town of Gibsons knew that the former RCMP property could be instrumental in addressing homelessness. I’d like to thank Mayor and Council for giving me the challenge of working with the federal government to divest the property for the purpose of supporting the most vulnerable in our community, and to MLA Simons for the support of the provincial government. Working together works.”

– The Honourable Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country

“The weight of the housing crisis in British Columbia is being felt in communities large and small. Too many people have been forced to live in shelters or on the street. These are the kinds of partnerships needed to make sure everyone has a place to call their own.”

– Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

“The Town of Gibsons is thrilled to be taking this first step toward providing stable housing for the most vulnerable members of our community. Reducing homelessness takes focused, collaborative action. This action was begun by the Town’s previous Council, and we’re pleased to move a little bit closer to our shared vision of safe housing for all, thanks to the critical support of our federal and provincial partners.”

– Bill Beamish, Mayor, Town of Gibsons

“RainCity Housing has been working on the Sunshine Coast for the past few years, providing outreach supports to people experiencing homelessness and operating shelters in both Gibsons and Sechelt. The work that we have been able to do would not have been possible without the remarkable and ongoing support of the community to address homelessness on the Coast. We are excited to continue our work on the Sunshine Coast and to be able to offer permanent, supported, affordable housing to local residents.”

– Catharine Hume, Co-Executive Director, RainCity Housing

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • On June 11, 2018, the Government of Canada announced Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.

  • Reaching Home will replace the existing Homelessness Partnering Strategy and will launch on April 1, 2019.

  • The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative is a funding stream of the existing Homelessness Partnering Strategy which makes surplus federal real properties available to community organizations for $1 to develop projects to house individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

  • The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative funding stream will be sunsetting on March 31, 2019 and is replaced by the Federal Lands Initiative led by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

  • Provincial investments in the past 18 months are supporting the construction of 4,700 new supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness across B.C. This includes a 40-unit modular housing project that is under construction in Sechelt.

  • Supportive housing is based on the Housing First model – a proven strategy helping many people find and maintain stable homes, improving their quality of life, and reducing their use of health and social services in the long term.

Related products

Associated links

Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Valérie Glazer
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
819-654-5546

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter

Ashley Michnowski
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough
819-997-5421

Media Relations
Public Services and Procurement Canada
819-420-5501
media@pwgsc-tpsgc.gc.ca

Melanie Kilpatrick
Media Relations
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
778-698-9176

Rajvir Rao
BC Housing
604-456-8917

Elizabeth Quayle
Town of Gibsons
604-886-2274

Share this post