More than $700,000 has already been allocated to organizations in Victoria to reduce the negative impacts of COVID-19 on those without shelter or housing.
Through the Reaching Home program, Canada’s homelessness strategy, support through services and programs is offered to help people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, access or sustain safe, stable and affordable housing. In March the federal government announced it would be providing the program with an additional $157.5 million across Canada during the pandemic.
The 2020-21 funding allocation in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area is $1,312,852 with $917,880 allocated under the Reaching Home Designated Communities funding stream and $394,972 allocated under the Reaching Home Indigenous Homelessness funding stream.
The CRD has been designated to administer the funding through sub-project agreements to non-profit organizations. So far, $730,000 in supplemented funds have been identified for allocation to local program provides such as Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness, Victoria Native Friendship Centre, AIDS Vancouver Island, Dandelion Society, Threshold Housing Society, Peers Victoria Resource Centre, Sooke Region Communities Health Network and Jones Bar-B-Que.
In April the Reaching Home Program Community Advisory Board approved the COVID-19 funding strategy which addressed three key priority areas for action: short-term sheltering and support programs for people currently without shelter and at risk of infection from the virus; keeping individuals stably housed and sheltered during the emergency response period, and ensuring individuals and households have short-term access to goods and services to meet basic needs to which access may have been disrupted.
This funding is in addition to the CRD’s current Reaching Home allocations of $870,753 in Designated Communities and $337,256 in Indigenous Homelessness funding in 2020-21. The funding can be used for a range of needs such as supplies to support harm reduction and basic needs services as well as funding to secure accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
CRD staff are engaging with funded programs, local First Nations and planning groups in Victoria, Sooke, Sidney and Salt Spring Island. Staff are also working with BC Housing, Social Development and Poverty Reduction and Island Health, along with the Victoria Foundation and the United Way of Greater Victoria to coordinate use of the funds.
New programs and contracts are being negotiated on a daily basis.
For more information on the Reaching Home program visit crd.bc.ca/project/reaching-home.
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