After the City of Abbotsford’s regional homelessness forum fell out due to snowy weather in February, the city is organizing a new forum, albeit with a “slightly different scope.”
The city is hosting a community homelessness forum next month, with registrations open until June 13.
“The Abbotsford Housing and Homelessness Community Forum is meant to bring together key stakeholders and community members working on housing and homelessness,” said city spokesperson Alex Mitchell.
“It will be an opportunity for the City to report out on the activities of the Abbotsford Homelessness Prevention and Response System, a requirement of the City’s Service Canada Grant.”
The forum will be held in the second floor of the Ag-Rec Centre at 32470 Haida Drive, running from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 20.
The event will be divided into two sessions – a morning session and afternoon session – with attendees invited to attend one or both.
The morning session will kick off at 8:30 a.m. with a sign-in/networking/refreshments, before entering the forum at 9 a.m. and providing updates on Abbotsford Homelessness Prevention/Response System initiatives.
That includes updates to the Abbotsford Community Hub Centre, the Abbotsford housing system, the Abbotsford shelter system, restorative justice, the affordable housing strategy, opioid crisis response, the co-ordinated intake and referral program, the upcoming integrated court pilot program, Housing with Abbotsford Rental Connect and the Many Ways to Home Housing Society.
At 10:45 a.m., the forum will hear from keynote speakers Alina and Travis Turner, co-founders of HelpSeeker, who will look at an overview of homelessness, locally and regionally, and call for an approach that addresses homelessness from all angles and agencies.
The afternoon session, starting at 1:30 p.m. after an hour lunch break, will be a two-hour workshop with the Turners, which will “delve further into integrated systems planning outlined in the morning key note, and explore ways to broaden the system and build health communities.”
The workshop will look at how the city and community can continue to support the collaborative approach to addressing homelessness, including the city’s homelessness prevention and response system and co-ordinating access to services.