Ottawa expanding pilot project aimed at reducing homelessness in 38 communities

WATCH ABOVE: Ottawa is pledging more money to help end chronic homelessness. However, recent statistics show Edmonton needs half a billion dollars for affordable housing. Fletcher Kent reports.

The federal government is putting more money into a program first tested in eight communities to help reduce homelessness.

Edmonton Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault on Friday announced $885,000 to expand a pilot project by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. Even one person on the streets in Canada is too many,” Boissonnault said in a release. “Projects like this one … support communities in our mutual goal to reduce chronic homelessness.”


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The money is to help develop lists of homeless people, including their names and circumstances, and to streamline access to housing and support services.

It’s part of a campaign by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, which aims to get 20,000 of the country’s most vulnerable people off the street in 20 communities by July 2020.

Tim Richter, president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, said the “by-name” list allows agencies to track the number of people “coming to homelessness or returning to homelessness.”

The project was initially tested in eight communities: Toronto, the Peel Region, Lanark County, Hamilton, Windsor and Waterloo Region in Ontario; Edmonton and Whitehorse, Yukon.


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The new federal money expands the pilot project to an additional 30 communities.

Edmonton officials say the project has helped to prioritize their work.

“To solve a problem, you really need to understand it,” said Susan McGee, chief executive officer of Homeward Trust, a community-based organization in the city.

“It’s very much focused on who is homeless in your community.”

McGee said identifying those people by name helps to understand their housing needs and other services they need.

“The whole objective here is about creating urgency and giving communities the tools they need to bend the curve on chronic homelessness,” Richter added.

The federal government, as part of its national housing strategy, has announced a total investment of $2.2 billion to fight homelessness over 10 years.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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