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Nanaimo Received Federal Funding To Support Homelessness Crisis Amid Pandemic

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island
Nanaimo Homeless Coalition
March 15, 2021

 

Nanaimo Received Federal Funding To Support Homelessness Crisis Amid Pandemic

Nanaimo, BC -  To support Nanaimo’s homeless population and to help those at risk of becoming homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island and the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy have provided funding to the community.

Nanaimo has received $1,254,632 since April 2020 in emergency COVID funding, through two funding streams in response to the crisis. United Way worked quickly with a network of local service providers and the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition Community Advisory Board to serve those most in need. $868,909 has already been allocated to 17 organizations delivering 25 programs. The remaining funds will be allocated to other programs working to end homelessness in the region.

 “As soon as COVID hit, United Way was actively working with our funded agencies to help them adapt and increase their ability to support our vulnerable neighbours. We were able to inform the community about what services were open, provide PPE and support renovations so their staff would be safe,” said Signy Madden, Executive Director, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. “Because of these funds and the incredible dedication and adaptability of our service providers, we’ve been able to keep COVID out of the homeless population and support those who need it most throughout this pandemic.”

Funding streams:

Indigenous Homelessness providing funding to organizations that offer supports to meet the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in urban centres.

Designated Communities providing funding to organizations that help support people experiencing homelessness while working to reduce homelessness.

The funds were issued to United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI), as the Community Entity for the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. The projects were reviewed and assessed in conjunction with the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition’s Community Advisory Board.

Some of these programs include:

·         Short-term rental supplements to keep people housed who have lost their job or experienced financial disruption because of COVID-19.

·         Shelter upgrades to help shelter spaces comply with COVID-19 health and safety regulations.

·         Two warming centres to give those living rough somewhere warm and dry to go in the day.

·         Re-opening existing services in keeping with COVID-19 health and safety regulations.

·         Creating new transitional housing.

·         Providing urgent outreach services for substance use and addiction challenges.

·         Providing mobile outreach for Indigenous homeless youth.

·         Connecting Indigenous clients to health services, mental health support, and substance use treatment.

·         Offering basic need supports such as food hampers, personal hygiene supplies, winter gear, and PPE, etc. 

·         Providing supports and training for front-line staff in the service sector to improve services to those experiencing homelessness.

·         A research study to collect data on the impacts of COVID-19 on homelessness, to learn from the community’s response and recommend improvements for ongoing service delivery.

Federal grants have supported agencies in Nanaimo to reduce homelessness for the past ten years. Nanaimo receives approximately $616,624 annually to reinvest into local efforts to end homelessness through the Designated Communities Stream and $256,382 through the Indigenous Homelessness Stream. The COVID funding received since April 2020 is in addition to this regular base funding.

“Everyone should have somewhere safe to stay, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is committed to addressing homelessness in Canada, and this funding will provide homeless-serving organizations with the tools and resources they need to help support the members of the community that need it most,” said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Find more information on the federal strategy at the UWCNVI website, here.

To learn more about Nanaimo’s funding through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy:  Nanaimo Homeless Coalition – Reaching Home

 

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Media Contact

Nicole Benson, Director of Communications

United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island

250.619.0151

 

About United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island

Over the past 60 plus years, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island has become a catalyst for social change – conducting research, convening coalitions, and influencing public policy to make a difference in local communities. In 2019-2020, UWCNVI funded 89 programs helping 51,846 people. Since April 2020, UWCNVI has funded 251 programs helping over 45,000 from the Malahat to Port Hardy. uwcnvi.ca
 

About the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition

The Nanaimo Homeless Coalition drives solutions to end homelessness by uniting the organizations, citizens and governments which support at-risk residents, while also working to diminish the harm caused by homelessness on individuals and community.

nanaimohomelesscoalition.ca

 

Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy

Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy is the Government of Canada’s community-based program, aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness across Canada. This program provides funding to urban, Indigenous, rural and remote communities to help them address their local homelessness needs.