Federal government unveils changes to its strategy for fighting homelessness

June 11, 2018
Article Source
Toronto Star

Cities working to get homeless Canadians off the streets and into homes will be given more money and fewer spending restrictions under a revamp of the Liberal government's centrepiece homelessness program.

New rules unveiled Monday will give cities leeway to spend money on local initiatives and experiments -- so long as they can meet Ottawa's goal of cutting in half the number of chronic homeless people in their midst.

Chronically homeless make up a small number in the overall homeless population, but they are among the heaviest users of emergency shelters.

New cities will become eligible for funding to take into account demographic shifts, particularly population growth out west. Eligibility for the existing 61 cities and towns in the program is based on demographic information now two decades old.

The revamped homeless strategy, redubbed "Reaching Home," will spend $2.1 billion over the next decade.

The minister in charge of the file said Monday there will also be new spending on top of that targeting Indigenous Peoples -- a group over-represented in shelters compared to their percentage of the general population -- but how much will be spent remains unclear.

"Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home because one person the streets in Canada is one too many," Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told a news conference in Toronto.

"As a country, Canada must do everything it can to reduce homelessness, meet the needs of vulnerable populations and provide every Canadian a safe and affordable place to live."


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