The City of Abbotsford will be hosting a regional forum on homelessness on Feb. 21. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo


City of Abbotsford to host regional homelessness forum

City will show off co-ordinated intake and referral pilot program, which is set to close in March

The City of Abbotsford expects to share the outcomes and lessons learned from the homeless referral pilot program kicked off in 2017 at an upcoming regional forum.

The city is hosting its second regional housing and homelessness forum on Feb. 21 at the University of the Fraser Valley’s Evered Hall.

The forum is expected to attract government representatives from neighbouring communities, stakeholders and community members. Spokesperson Alex Mitchell said the city expects to share its learnings from the co-ordinated intake and referral (CIR) program, along with co-ordinating with regional counterparts on addressing housing and homelessness and highlighting current work on housing and opioid response.

RELATED: Abbotsford program painting picture of homelessness in motion

RELATED: Program to help homeless seeing success, Abbotsford mayor says

The forum is part of the requirements from the federal government in its funding of the CIR pilot project, which launched in September 2017 and is scheduled to close on March 31.

Mayor Henry Braun says the forum will be a good venue to show off some of the results of the project.

“We are evaluating people for the very first time. Some have been homeless for 30 years and they’ve never had an assessment of what their needs are. Once that happens, we can now channel them into the various ministries that they need. It’s kind of like one-stop shopping,” Braun said.

As of the end of last year, the program has received 425 requests for service, according to a recent update to the city’s homelessness action advisory committee.

Braun added that, to achieve a more welcoming housing market, there needs to be a major increase in construction in the region.

“The only way the housing is going to decrease is if the supply exceeded the demand. Right now, that’s not happening,” Braun said, adding that one of the best ways to achieve that is through federal or provincial programming to incentivize construction.

“I worry a little when governments are going to do the building. We should figure out a way to incentivize the private sector and let them go build it, because governments are probably not going to build their way out of this problem.”

The forum opens with check-in and mingling at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21 and starts in earnest at 9 a.m. with opening remarks. After that, the city is expected to report on the CIR program and Abbotsford’s homelessness prevention and response system, followed by a joint report on infrastructure and needs in the Lower Mainland by the Fraser Valley Regional District and Metro Vancouver.

Keynote speaker is Alina Turner, a leading Canadian researcher on urban poverty, housing and homelessness, who is expected to call “for an integrated systems planning approach across systems of care.”

After that, a panel will be held involving Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission on issues of housing and opioid response and collaborative approaches to those issues.

The forum will close with a “world café dialogue,” described as “applying the learnings and identifying key needs, next steps and regional mobilization.”

Find more of our coverage on Homelessness here.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter


Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Plecas won’t run in next election if legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Case where son tried to evict mom ends with judge ordering sale of Abbotsford home

Mom gets back down payment and initial expenses of Signal Court property

Langley woman’s caregivers pen unflinching book about her struggles

The authors and the woman they care for will be at an Abbotsford book signing on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Abbotsford’s Matsqui prison beefing up security against contraband

Correctional service says officials found a number of unauthorized items during ‘exceptional search’

Your daily commute and weather forecast: Feb. 15, 2019

Breezy commute today, with a little precipitation – both frozen and not – in the forecast today

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Prominent B.C. realtor says he doesn’t know how child porn got on his computer

Closing arguments heard in Ian Meissner’s Chilliwack trial for accessing, possessing child porn

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Avalanche control planned tomorrow on Highway 1

The highway will be closed in the morning east of Revelstoke

Mayors approve SkyTrain extension to UBC

Next step is a business plan and public consultation

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read