Community Partners Addressing Homelessness (CPAH) is the Community Advisory Board (CAB). CPAH was established in 2000 as a result of the Federal Initiative SCPI (Supporting Community Partnerships Initiative). This initiative, administered through Service Canada, recognized selected communities throughout Canada that were dealing with significant homelessness issues. Prince George was identified as one of those communities. As a first requirement of the initiative, a diverse group of representatives were assembled and an initial Community Plan (CP) was drawn up in order to release funds designated to address identified issues. Prince George has continued to be one of the designated communities.
Community Development Officer, UWNBC
(250) 561-1040 x 103
Community Partners Addressing Homelessness (CPAH) members comprise of a number of community service agencies, government ministries, organizations and concerned individuals – all working in partnership to end homelessness in Prince George. CPAH aims to promote awareness, educate the public, engage the media, advocate with all levels of government, to collaborate / cooperate most effectively, utilizing resources to provide supports to the most vulnerable members in the community and to end homelessness. CPAH is an open table and anyone is welcome. Meetings are held – second Monday of each month from 1:00 to 2:30 pm – venue differs. Through the commitment of its members, CPAH has been gaining momentum and recognition from community stakeholders, government and the media.
The HPS 2014-2019 program is refocused on a Housing First (HF) approach as a means to end homelessness. This approach focuses on moving people who are experiencing chronic or episodic homelessness as rapidly as possible from the street or emergency shelter into permanent housing, and then providing supports that vary according to client needs.
HF is an approach where housing is provided as the first step, in combination with supportive services, to people who are homeless and living with mental health issues. It is based on the idea that the first and most primary need for people is housing and that any other issues a person is living with can be addressed once a person is housed. HF is recovery oriented and client choice is at the centre.
- Provides immediate access to both permanent, independent housing with rent subsidies and mental health supports.
- Provides an alternate to traditional emergency shelter / transitional housing approaches.
- Does not have conditions on housing readiness. Tenancy is not tied to engagement in treatment – beyond once a week visits by support team / case manager.
- Provides treatment and support services that are voluntary, individualise, culturally appropriate and portable. A range of services are offered e.g. mental health, substance abuse, physical health, employment, education.
- Offers clients a choice of housing. Housing is in self-contained units, mostly private sector, scattered site – to foster a sense of homes, self determination and community integration.
- Requires clients to pay a portion of their income for housing (less than 30%).
Chronic and episodically homeless and populations at imminent risk of homelessness are housed first without having to undergo any rehabilitation services to secure the housing.
HPS has defined these populations as follows:
Chronically homeless – refers to individuals, often with disabling conditions (e.g. chronic physical or mental illness, substance abuse problems), who are currently homeless and have been homeless for six months or more in the past year (i.e. have spent more than 180 cumulative nights in a shelter or place not fit for human habitation).
Episodically homeless – refers to individuals, often with disabling conditions, who are currently homeless and have experienced three or more episodes of homelessness in the past year (of note, episodes are defined as periods when a person would be in a shelter or place not fit for human habitation for a certain period, and after at least 30 days, would be back in the shelter or place).
Populations at imminent risk of homelessness – are defined as individuals or families whose current housing situation ends in the near future (i.e. within one to two months) and for which no subsequent residence has been identified. They are unable to secure permanent housing because they do not have sufficient resources or support networks immediately available to prevent them from moving to an emergency shelter or a public or private place not meant for human habitation. The population at imminent risk of homelessness is not among the groups that are the focus of Housing First under HPS.
Housing First (HF) is an evidence-based approach that has produced positive results in other studies. It has been show to:
- Increase long-term housing stability.
- Improve quality of life, recovery and wellness.
- Initial data shows a drastic reduction in costs associated with health care and justice system use e.g. emergency visits, hospitalizations, ambulance rides and incarceration.
- Advocates say housing homeless people in apartments around the city reduces the burden on police, health and the shelter system.