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

VIDEO: Glow Abbotsford opens its doors

Indoor Christmas festival taking over Tradex for December

Widespread concerns spur UFV to halt international enrolment growth

New target hopes to limit international students to 20% of all enrolment to give time to ‘catch up’

Abbotsford man was ‘unintended victim’ of 2018 fatal shooting, police say

Jagvir Malhi, 19, was gunned down while on his way to university

UFV & other B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

2019 Christmas light displays in Abbotsford and Mission

Local homes are aglow for the holidays

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Braille signs coming to TransLink bus stops in 2020

Transit authority says it’s the first to do so in Canada and the United States

CUPE issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain

Local 7000 release states ‘parties are still bargaining’, union will have job action plan by Saturday

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Most Read