Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson and Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson have issued the following joint statement in recognition of Homelessness Action Week, Oct. 8-14:
“We know that homelessness is on the rise in many communities throughout British Columbia. As the cold and wet winter months approach, it’s especially important to make sure that people in need have a safe, warm place to go. We are partnering with non-profit housing providers to open temporary winter shelter spaces in communities throughout B.C.
“We know opening more shelter beds is not a long-term solution. We need to address this problem through permanent housing that is safe and secure. That's why work is underway across government to develop a Homelessness Action Plan and a Comprehensive Housing Strategy for B.C. We will work closely with our partners in the coming months to establish the direction, approach and investments needed in our communities to better support those who are homeless and those who are at risk of homelessness.
“As a first step, we are working with local governments to provide 2,000 new modular housing units for homeless people throughout the province. We are also investing in 24/7 staffing and support services these new units, with the aim of supporting people to move on to more permanent housing options. The first of these units will begin rolling out this winter. We are also partnering to build 1,700 new affordable housing units to make sure that permanent homes are available for people in the longer term.
“We offer our thanks to the outreach workers, non-profits and front-line service providers for their dedication and efforts to create long-term solutions to the systemic problems facing people who are homeless. Government is committed to working with non-profits, the private sector, First Nations and local governments to develop and implement a Homelessness Action Plan. We are committed to developing a plan that not only meets the housing needs of the province’s most vulnerable and at-risk residents, but one that provides both security and dignity as well.”