*One major source of funding during the COVID-19 pandemic has been Reaching Home.
This existing program, already taking place in the Nanaimo and Cowichan areas, has been providing further funding to support programs that help those in need of various housing supports.
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 – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island (UWBC) 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 UWBC'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.
UWBC is the CE for Nanaimo and the Cowichan area, working with CABs in both areas. In Nanaimo, the CAB consists of the voting members of the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition. For more on the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition's part in Reaching Home, click HERE. In Cowichan, the CAB is the Tze Tza Watul Cowichan CAB.
UWBC 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.