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Chilliwack one of six communities to receive homelessness funds from the feds

This is first time Chilliwack qualified for stable, long-term federal funding to fight homelessness
Chilliwack now eligible for ‘designated community’ funding by the feds to fight homelessness. (Black Press file)

Chilliwack is one of six new locations set to receive homelessness funding as a “designated community” in the Reaching Home, Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.

Chilliwack will be on the receiving end for $296,765 in 2020-21, and then $473,671 each year until 2024 to “prevent and reduce” homelessness.

This marks the first time Chilliwack has been made eligible for any type of stable, long-term federal funding to fight homelessness.

“Local communities play a big role in helping Canadians experiencing homelessness,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, in a release April 23. “We are proud to include Chilliwack as a designated community under Reaching Home so that they can better serve vulnerable groups, while we work together to reduce chronic homelessness in Canada.”

READ MORE: Chilliwack became eligible in 2017 for federal funding

After the last homeless count in 2017, it was determined that Chilliwack had the highest rate of people experiencing homelessness in the region.

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The COVID-19 pandemic in Canada is having real, tangible public health and safety impacts on all Canadians. It is necessary to ensure that the homeless-serving sector has all the tools and interventions they need to prepare, prevent and manage this disease,” the minister said.

Reaching Home works with a single entity like the local government or non-profit organization that distributes funding to support local priorities identified in each community’s homelessness plan.

In Spring 2019, a two-step application process was launched to identify new designated communities. A demonstrated need for homelessness funding, as well as capacity to effectively manage federal investments and improve their local chronic homelessness by 50% by fiscal year 2027-2028 were some of the criteria used.

The new communities selected for the expansion of the Designated Communities stream are: Abbotsford, B.C.; Cochrane District (Timmins), ON; Lambton County, ON; Cowichan Valley, B.C.; Chilliwack, B.C., and Kenora, ON.

Abbotsford’s funding works out to $399,304 for 2020-21, and then $635,204 until 2024.

The expansion of the Designated Communities stream by six communities will provide approximately $1.9 million in 2020-21, and approximately $3 million in each fiscal year from 2021-22 to 2023-2024.

READ MORE: Pledge to reduce the numbers of homeless youth

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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