Federal government says it will help more communities reduce homelessness

The federal government says it will be extending its reach when it comes to the number of communities that receive funding dedicated to reducing homelessness.

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, shared the details of the “Reaching Home” program with a crowd of 1,300 delegates at a national conference on homelessness in Hamilton on Monday.

The $2.2-billion program, to be rolled out over 10 years, is part of the government’s $40-billion national housing strategy, announced last year.

Duclos says it will mean increased funding for a list of 61 designated communities.

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It will also add up to six new communities to the funding stream.

“Canada has changed in 20 years and homelessness, unfortunately, has now emerged in other communities, so we need to be responsive to the needs of assisting homeless Canadians, wherever they are found,” Duclos said.

There will be a competitive application process starting in 2019 to become a designated community, according to Duclos.

Both the need and an applicant’s ability to meet them with financial assistance must be demonstrated.

The federal government says $1.25 billion will be invested in designated communities over the next nine years.

Duclos says funding will help reduce homelessness in Indigenous communities.

“Indigenous people continue to be over-represented in emergency shelters,” he said.

“We need to do a lot better.”

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