Prince George, BC – United Way of Northern BC, the community entity that distributes funding for the federally funded Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), is pleased to announce a total of $727,327 will be dispersed to nine agencies to combat homelessness in Prince George for 2017-2019:
• An Association Advocating for Women and Children (Prince George Housing First)
• Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George (Community Voice Mail)
• Active Support Against Poverty (Tenant Support Worker)
• Northern John Howard Society (Transitional Housing Coordinator)
• Prince George Brain Injured Group (Survival and Beyond Employment Program)
• Positive Living North (Fire Pit Cultural Drop-In Centre)
• Saint Vincent de Paul Society (Sustaining Positive Growth)
• YMCA of Northern BC (Housing support for homeless and at-risk youth)
• Kerry Pateman Planning Services (Housing First Forum, Community Connect Day)
HPS is a federally-funded, community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness. It provides direct support and funding to organizations assisting people who are homeless in communities across Canada, including Prince George.
United Way, as the community entity, is responsible for distributing federal funding for homelessness. A volunteer panel makes recommendations based on guidelines and priorities established and recommended through a Community Advisory Board. The United Way, in collaboration with the Community Advisory Board, disburses project funding to organizations that meet an identified need.
Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment & Training Association (PGNAETA) is the community entity for the HPS Rural and Remote and Aboriginal funding steams.
HPS uses the Housing First model as it’s an evidenced based approach that produces measurable results. It targets the most vulnerable in the community by moving them rapidly into permanent housing. This is achieved by working in partnership with community agencies, clients and landlords.
Clients are supported through wrap around services that help them sustain their housing, work towards recovery, reintegrate back into the community and ultimately, increase self-sufficiency.
Through developing a Housing First community, HPS is supporting the Prince George community by reducing the strain on shelters, health and justice services. This represents a balanced approach and measurably reduces homelessness at the local level.
The Prince George Housing First program started in January 2016. To date, the program has housed and provided wrap around services to 22 people and continues to work with 11. Seven have left the program and remain housed. A system is being developed that can be transferable to other agencies, and a community-specific guidebook is being created that can be used by other agencies and smaller northern communities that are interested in starting a Housing First program.
PG Housing First Team Lead Amie Foster said, “This program has been a huge success in Prince George. We refer people to all the agencies that can help them maintain housing and stabilize them while also helping them with whatever else they need. Chronically homeless people require intensive case management and support to address things like mental and physical health and life skills. By helping people meet their basic needs and providing on-going individual support, we reduce pressure on emergency services in Prince George.”
“The work seems never ending but we celebrate our successes. We are currently working with someone who refused to go to the dentist despite tooth decay and chronic pain. He’s been with our program for over a year and just finished a five-session dental treatment plan. This is a success for us – and for him.”