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$2.4+million has been made available to tackle homelessness in Kamloops

$2.4 million for Housing First in Kamloops

More than $2.4 million has been made available to tackle homelessness in Kamloops.

The funding, announced by Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Cathy McLeod on Thursday, July 3, is part of implementing Housing First, an evidence-based approach to end homelessness.

McLeod said Housing First is the cornerstone of the government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS).

She said it aims to stabilize the lives of the homeless for the long-term by first moving them into permanent housing and then providing additional support for underlying issues, such as addiction and mental health.

The end goal, McLeod said, is ensuring the homeless become self-sufficient.

“Through this new approach, we can move out of crisis mode in terms of managing homelessness and work towards eliminating it altogether,” McLeod said.

The City of Kamloops is receiving the funding over five years to support projects in the community that prevent and reduce homelessness, including projects that address the needs of the Aboriginal homeless population.

“We greatly appreciate the federal government’s decision to renew the Homelessness Partnering Strategy for a five-year period,” said Carmin Mazzotta, social and community development supervisor with the City of Kamloops.

“Housing First is a proven approach, as demonstrated by the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi project.”

Added Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada: “A house is so much more than a roof over one’s head. It represents dignity, security, and, above all, hope.”

The Housing First approach came into effect on April 1 and is being introduced gradually across the country over the next two years, with specified funding targets, taking into account varying capacity and resources among communities.

On April 8, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released the final report of the At Home/Chez Soi project.

It was the largest study of its kind and provided strong evidence that Housing First is an effective way to reduce homelessness.

Over the course of the MHCC study, an average of 73 per cent of participants in the Housing First group remained in stable housing, compared to 32 percent for the group receiving usual care.

The study also showed Housing First is a sound financial investment that can lead to significant cost savings.

For those participants that were the highest users of emergency and social services, every $10 invested led to an average savings to government of $21.72.

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