The Strathcona Regional District has secured a Strengthening Communities’ Service grant for slightly more than $1 million.
Funding will go towards the districts Unsheltered Homelessness Response Project which will help fill service delivery gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will support agencies delivering services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the region.
The program, which is both federally and provincially funded, was developed to improve the health and safety of unsheltered people, reduce related community impacts, improve service coordination, and increase local capacity for service delivery.
“The Province has recognized the additional strain the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on communities, and that government and service agencies have been stretched well beyond our means to meet the demand for services and the need to alleviate increasing poverty, and mental health and addiction issues that can contribute to homelessness,” said Mayor Andy Adams. “This funding will increase our capacity to address local and regional challenges and to improve the health and safety of some our most vulnerable community members. We greatly appreciate this collaborative process where governments and service providers are working together on common goals.”
Funds from the grant will be primarily focused in Campbell River to provide: enhanced security and early-morning clean-up in partnership with the Downtown Business Improvement Association; expanded addiction outreach, peer support, and volunteer clean-up efforts; meals, laundry, showers and other support services through Hama?Elas Community Kitchen, Kwesa Place; additional local and regional resources for service coordination related to urban Indigenous populations, homelessness, justice system navigation and food security services; training for staff and volunteers related to homelessness, cultural awareness, and humility; and pandemic-related personal protective equipment, and medical, hygiene, cleaning, and harm reduction supplies.
A portion of the funds will also support creating mobile outreach services in Gold River and Tahsis.
The Strengthening Communities Program is providing support to 48 communities across B.C. Over $76 million has been allocated to support local governments combating the impacts of homelessness.