BC Government: Funding available to support local programs, help people experiencing homelessness
Feb. 3, 2022
VICTORIA – B.C. local governments and modern Treaty Nations can apply for grants to support crucial local services that respond to the impacts of homelessness worsened by the pandemic.
“For two years, local governments have been on the front lines working to ensure vulnerable people have access to the critical supports they need to navigate this pandemic,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Through this second intake, we’re committed to even more support for communities throughout the province, including those that are responding to extreme weather events such as a heat wave.”
The Strengthening Communities’ Services Program gives local governments and modern Treaty Nations additional capacity to support vulnerable people and help keep them safe and healthy during the ongoing pandemic. In addition, the effects of extreme weather have strained local homelessness resources and supports that have already been strained due to the pandemic. The funding can be used to address the effects of extreme weather for people experiencing homelessness, including liaising with public health officials to support people during extreme weather.
So far, the program has invested more than $76 million of the $100-million fund in 50 community-led projects that provide services, such as outreach and mental-health supports and expanding or creating new temporary shelters for people.
The City of Kelowna’s Outdoor Sheltering Strategy is one of the many funded projects that is bringing immediate relief to people in the community. The grant is being used to help the city and its partners support crucial services for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. Services include continued operation and management of the overnight sheltering site, a day-use site, personal belonging storage, outreach support services and access to personal hygiene facilities. The strategy also includes an awareness campaign to change perceptions and reduce the stigma people who experience homelessness face.
“Homelessness is a complex and challenging issue and addressing it has been made more difficult through the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis and a challenging housing affordability market,” said Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna. “Through our work with the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society, our partnerships with service providers and with the support of the Province and the federal government, we know a difference is being made to bring dignity, support and care to those who need it most.”
The Strengthening Communities’ Services Program is open to all municipalities, regional districts and modern Treaty Nations in B.C. The program is administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities on behalf of the Province and applications will be accepted until April 22, 2022, with approvals expected in summer 2022.
“Communities in all parts of British Columbia are struggling with the reality of increasing numbers of unhoused residents,” said Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities. “Those without a home require support and rely on local government services when there are no better options. I am pleased to see that the federal and provincial governments are recognizing the need for increased investment to respond to the needs of homeless people in B.C.’s communities. This program is seeding innovative approaches that address local needs and is a welcome support to local government.”
The program is part of the Safe Restart Agreement, which is equally funded by the Province and the Government of Canada.
- The Government of Canada and the Province are providing $540 million in shared funding to local governments under the Safe Restart Agreement to help communities manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In addition to the $100-million Strengthening Communities’ Services Program, other funding includes:
- $425 million in direct grants for local government operations to address facility reopening and operating costs, emergency response costs, lost revenues and other COVID-19-related effects; and
- $15 million for the Local Government Development Approvals Program to increase the efficiency of local development approval processes.
Local governments and modern Treaty Nations are encouraged to submit applications for funding through the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ website: https://www.ubcm.ca/funding-programs/local-government-program-services/strengthening-communities-services
Learn more about Stronger BC: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/
Learn more about B.C.’s economic recovery plan: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/bc-restart-plan
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
Government of Canada takes action on COVID-19: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse/government-canada-takes-action-covid-19.html
Learn more about the successful applicants of the first intake of the Strengthening Communities’ Services Program: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MUNI0044-001589
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect