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B.C. takes aim at homelessness crisis in 2022 budget

Click to play video: 'B.C. budget allocates millions to tackle homeless crisis' B.C. budget allocates millions to tackle homeless crisis
WATCH: B.C.'s Finance Minister Selina Robinson said this budget will allocate $633 million to tackle homelessness over the next three years. – Feb 22, 2022

British Columbia’s 2022 budget aims to tackle the homelessness crisis in the province through new complex care housing, rent supplements and extending support for youth aging out of care until age 27.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Selina Robinson said the province is allocating $663 million over the next three years.

Read more: Budget: Surge in housing prices helps B.C. economy bounce back through tail-end of pandemic

“When COVID-19 first hit, we acted fast to bring more than 3,000 people off the street and into temporary shelters,” Robinson said. “And now we’re working to make this move permanent by funding hundreds of new homes with supports and connecting people with spaces and newly finished buildings to give people stability.”

“While new permanent homes are being built, we’re extending leases on some temporary spaces,” Robinson added. “Additionally, new rent supplements will help thousands of low-income people find secure housing in the rental market and it comes with wraparound supports.”

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Click to play video: 'Affordable housing is key for B.C.’s future, finance minister lays out budget' Affordable housing is key for B.C.’s future, finance minister lays out budget
Affordable housing is key for B.C.’s future, finance minister lays out budget – Feb 22, 2022

The $663 million will include projects such as a $600-month rent supplement over the next three years to help these people find and retain housing and allocating $35 million over three years to help former youth in care up to the age of 27 and not just their 19th birthday. This will also include health and life-support skills, Robinson added.

Read more: Report calls for B.C. plan to end youth homelessness, informed by youth themselves

In addition, the Complex Care housing model will be expanded to 20 more sites throughout the province, Robinson said, with plans to support up to 500 people were severe mental health or substance-use issues, or traumatic and acquired brain injuries who are currently homeless or unstably housed.

“This first of its kind approach will help stop the cycle of evictions, shelters, emergency rooms and jails for hundreds of people with complex care needs,” Robinson said.

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