City of Abbotsford bylaw officers work at a Gladys Ave. homeless camp in 2018. (Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file)

City of Abbotsford bylaw officers work at a Gladys Ave. homeless camp in 2018. (Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file)

Province funnels $625K to Abbotsford programs that help connect homeless population to services

MLA Pam Alexis says provincial investment will support people who are unhoused in Abbotsford

People who are unhoused in Abbotsford will have better access to local support services, as a result of some recent provincial funding.

“Our communities are at their best when we are taking care of one another,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission. “Funding local projects and services that are nuanced in their approach is vital to supporting our unhoused neighbours.”

The City of Abbotsford is receiving $625,000 to respond to the impacts of homelessness through the project Building Bridges for Service Integration. This project will address increasing real and perceived safety challenges involving people experiencing homelessness, including for youth, and help build the service and response continuum through two programs, CEDAR Outreach and Project SWIFT.

Abbotsford’s CEDAR Outreach’s vision statement is “To ensure that every member of the community is provided the resources, tools, guidance and support necessary to ensure no one falls between the cracks.”

Peer support workers with the program meet with their clients wherever they are staying, whether they are in a shelter or on the street.

And Project SWIFT is a targeted at-risk youth focused partnership between the Abbotsford Police Department, Ministry of Children and Families and Cyrus Centre. It aims to bring three levels of service and response together for a coordinated approach to support at-risk youth (aged 13 – 24) who are homeless. Staff there respond to known unsafe circumstances, people, and potential living situations (generally homeless and unsheltered), including addressing at-risk youth homelessness.

Alexis says the the province is investing more than $15 million into projects in 44 communities as part of the Strengthening Communities’ Services Program. This funding stream supports local governments and modern Treaty Nations in building additional capacity to address the needs of unsheltered people in their communities, while also keeping people safe and healthy.

The projects being funded will include services such as outreach and mental health supports, creating new temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness, and expanding shelter availability during potential extreme weather events, through the program’s second intake. This investment is in addition to the $76 million provided to local governments and modern Treaty Nations through this program in 2021.

The Strengthening Communities Services Program is open to all municipalities, regional districts, Islands Trust and modern Treaty Nations in B.C. It is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

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