What is being done about homelessness in Chilliwack in one slide. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Housing Hub gets one year to prove the concept works

Pilot project to use housing first model to get people off streets, and support them to stay housed

There are hundreds of homeless people in Chilliwack, as well those precariously housed.

There are also hundreds of landlords and property owners who need reliable tenants.

There are forces collaborating right now, on the initial phases of bringing these groups together to find ways to benefit both.

It’s called the Housing Hub, according to Graham McMahon, housing development coordinator for Pacific Community Resources Society.

It’s a one-year pilot project with a $190,000 budget, using Housing First principles. That means offering housing first, but with supports for both tenants and landlords. It’s a partnership between PCRS, Sto:lo Service Agency and Xolhemet Society, with funding from the federal government (HPS grant), Sto:lo Service Agency, the City of Chilliwack, and two private business owners.

McMahon offered an update on the project status to a Chamber/BIA crowd Thursday night at the Best Western, sponsored by PCRS.

In its first year, the housing hub will have two staff working closely together, a housing hub coordinator, and a housing support facilitator, McMahon told the hotel crowd.

The coordinator will network with, and support landlords, and the support facilitator will connect tenants with the wrap-around support, providing individualized support in their homes, and working with tenants to help them stay housed.

The idea is to start slowly.

The modest goal for that first year, as a “proof of concept” is to house at least a dozen homeless people to start off with, McMahon said. Add to that another half dozen at-risk tenants, or precariously housed, connecting each one with affordable rental accommodations, with staff supporting them in their homes as well.

“If those people become housed and stay housed, well then maybe we can take on some new tenants,” McMahon said during his presentation.

“So our goal is not to save the world in the first year, as much as I would like to do that, our goal is to be realistic. It’s to build really great relationships with landlords, since we don’t want to burn bridges with them in the first year.

“And it’s to build really great relationships with folks who are homeless, so we don’t burn bridges with them either. And that’s going to be our goal.”

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