United Way British Columbia – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island, as the Community Entity, is pleased to open applications on July 5th for local programs aimed to prevent and reduce homelessness, funded by the Government of Canada's Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy.


Apply online here

Download the application guidelines document here


The next intake of applications for Reaching Home funding is fast approaching. There are two streams of funding for the Cowichan Region, the City of Duncan (including pre-existing extensions beyond boundaries), and the City of Nanaimo areas:  Indigenous Homelessness (off Nation) and Designated Community (includes on Nation)


Designated Communities: providing funding to organizations that help support people experiencing homelessness and working to reduce homelessness, including on Nation otherwise known as on Reserve. 

Indigenous Homelessness: providing funding to organizations that offer supports to meet the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, off Nation otherwise known as off Reserve. 

Reaching Home and United Way honour that Indigenous housing options reflect Indigenous values, beliefs and practices (e.g., community/family living environment) and are delivered by Indigenous organizations. 


Reaching Home projects will address one or more of the following:  

  • Housing Services that lead to an individual or family transitioning into more stable housing that has been deemed appropriate and safe.

  • Prevention and Shelter Diversion includes activities aimed at preventing homelessness by supporting individuals and families at imminent risk of homelessness before a crisis occurs.
  • Client Support Services include individualized services to help improve integration and connectedness to support structures, such as the provision of basic needs and clinical/treatment, as well as economic/social & community integration services.
  • Coordination of Resources and Data Collection activities that enhance understanding of local homelessness issues and help support decision-making and longer-term planning.

More information on eligible activities and expenses can be found in the guidelines document, download here.

Helpful information

Applications open July 5, 2021

Applications close July 23, 2021

Funding for programs running September 2021 to March 31, 2022

City of Nanaimo

Designated Communities:

  • $647,220 allocated to Nanaimo, Designated Communities stream
  • No ceiling on application amounts

Indigenous Homelessness:

  • $448,546 allocated to Nanaimo, Indigenous Homelessness stream
  • No ceiling on application amounts

Cowichan Valley

Designated Communities:

  • $590,987 allocated to Cowichan Valley, Designated Communities stream
  • Agencies can apply for up to $75,000

City of Duncan

Indigenous Homelessness:

  • $400,000 allocated to Duncan, Indigenous Homelessness stream
  • No ceiling on application amounts
  • 85% or more of the total funding request must be dedicated to direct project funding and service provision
  • Your project budget can include up to 15 per cent (15%) of the total administrative costs.

Not-for-profit organizations; individuals; municipal governments; for-profit enterprises; research organizations and institutes; public health and educational institutions; band/tribal councils; and other Indigenous organizations are eligible to receiving funding and act as coordinators for activities.

Where feasible, preference will be given to Indigenous organizations to deliver projects specifically targeting off Nation Indigenous people experiencing or at-risk for houselessness.

For-profit enterprises are eligible for funding provided that the nature and intent of the activity is non-commercial, does not generate profit, and fits within the community plan or identified local need. Individuals, for-profit enterprises and research organizations and institutes may also receive funding to carry out research that aims to help communities understand and address homelessness issues.

In order to be eligible for 2021 Reaching Home funding, the project activities must take place in the Cowichan region, the City of Duncan (including pre-existing extensions beyond boundaries), and/or the City of Nanaimo.

• Cowichan Region: Designated funding stream only, with a maximum grant amount of $75,000. OnNation projects are eligible to apply for Designated funds. 13

• City of Duncan: Indigenous (off-Nation) funding stream only; preference will be given to Indigenous-led organizations or partnerships involving Indigenous-led organizations. Specific agencies adjacent to the city limits have been granted special permission to apply within this category.

• City of Nanaimo, including Snuneymuxw Nation: Both Designated and Indigenous streams are available.

Apply online here

Application guidelines document

Further details can be found in the guidelines document, download here.

What Is Reaching Home?

The Government of Canada's Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy, is a federal program that aims to prevent and reduce homelessness.

It provides funding to communities large and small across the country and puts decision-making in the hands of local stakeholders and service providers. 

Locally, United Way British Columbia distributes funds and provides administrative support to a Community Advisory Board that decides where funding goes. 

Reaching Home is funding a range of services, including:

  • providing housing
  • helping people to keep their homes thereby preventing homelessness 
  • connecting people in need to things like medical supports, or helping them apply to resources like employment insurance
  • during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also funding service providers to adapt to new health requirements and continue providing services, as well as supplying the homeless with masks, hand sanitizer and temporary housing in which to isolate. 

Reaching Home is also collecting information to make sure that local strategies are working, and requiring communities to create a consistent process for those in need to apply for and access services. 

For a more in-depth review of how Reaching Home works, check out the video presentation below. 

What is United Way British Columbia's role with Reaching Home?

UWBC has been designated a Community Entity (CE) by Reaching Home. That means we hold funding provided by the federal government, we direct funding to agencies and programs after the Community Advisory Board (CAB) has made a decision on where funding should go, and we provide administrative support as well as advice to CABs.

United Way British Columbia is the CE for Nanaimo and the Cowichan area, working with CABs in both areas. 

United Way British Columbia has been the CE in Nanaimo for more than five years, and the CE in the Cowichan area for even longer. We've been able to leverage our existing relationships with local agencies, our knowledge of local programs, and our years of study of local needs to help direct funding to truly impactful initiatives. As part of Reaching Home, we're not only getting people help and housing, but keeping our neighbours from losing their homes in the first place. 

As part of Reaching Home, we're making our communities a better home for all of us. 

Our Reaching Home Grants are making a difference in our communities.

In the fiscal year 2020-2021, United Way funded 28 agencies and 60 programs/activities in Cowichan and Nanaimo thanks to the Government of Canada's Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy.

See all our Reaching Home funded programs here.