About Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness across Canada. This program provides funding to urban, Indigenous, rural and remote communities to help them address their local homelessness needs.

Reaching Home supports the goals of the National Housing Strategy, in particular, to support the most vulnerable Canadians in maintaining safe, stable and affordable housing and to reduce chronic homelessness nationally by 50% by fiscal year 2027 to 2028.

Homelessness has an impact on every community in Canada. It affects individuals, families, women fleeing violence, youth, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. In 2016, an estimated 129,000 people experienced homelessness at an emergency shelter. This is why we have committed $2.2 billion to tackle homelessness across the country.

Redesign of the federal homelessness program

To help inform the redesign of the federal homelessness program, we engaged with Canadians, online and in-person, to gather a broad range of perspectives from across the country. The feedback received through this engagement made a valuable contribution to the development of the key components of Reaching Home.

Outcomes-based approach

We are working with communities to develop and deliver community plans with clear outcomes. To support the outcomes-based approach, all Housing First investment targets have been removed to give communities more flexibility to address local needs and priorities.

Coordinated Access system

Communities have 3 years to introduce a Coordinated Access system to prioritize people who are most in need of assistance and match them to appropriate housing and services. The system will help to ensure fairness and streamline access to housing and services.

Homeless Individuals and Families Information System

The Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS) is a data collection and case management system that allows multiple service providers in the same community to access real-time data and to increase coordination of services. HIFIS supports daily operations, data collection and the development of a national portrait on homelessness.

Increasing the understanding of homelessness

Reaching Home continues to support efforts to increase the understanding of homelessness in Canada and to ensure that communities have the information and tools they need to prevent and reduce homelessness. Available reports include analyses of shelter capacity and shelter use data, as well as the nationally-coordinated Point-in-Time Counts.

Addressing Indigenous homelessness

Reaching Home dedicates increased funding to address Indigenous homelessness. Through the community-based approach, these funds provide communities with greater flexibility and support in determining their own initiatives, local priorities and collaboration with Indigenous partners.

Addressing homelessness in the territories

Reaching Home introduces a new Territorial Homelessness stream. This stream retains the community-based nature of the program and gives more flexibility in how funding can be used to address the unique homelessness challenges in the 3 territories.

Addressing homelessness in rural and remote areas

Addressing homelessness in rural and remote areas continues to be a priority for us. In Budget 2016, this funding was doubled and under Reaching Home, this funding level has been maintained.

Expanding the program’s reach

Reaching Home continues to reinforce a community-based approach, and will expand the program's reach up to 4 to 6 new Designated Communities. New communities will be added through an open and transparent process and the final selection is expected by fall 2019.

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