Canada/IBNS: Canadian provinces and cities including Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, Hamilton, and Fredericton, experiencing frigid temperatures are being provided with an essential lifeline right now by the Housing First program in providing safe permanent housing to homeless people, without preconditions, addiction, and mental health challenges, media reports said.
“Housing is not contingent upon readiness, or on ‘compliance’ (for instance, sobriety). Rather, it is a rights-based intervention rooted in the philosophy that all people deserve housing and that adequate housing is a precondition for recovery,” says Housing First in Canada: Supporting Communities to End Homelessness.
This year the city of Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan (SK), for example, hit by bitter cold had to cut capacity to allow for physical distancing owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, had seen two freezing deaths as homeless people desperately search for spots in shelters or warming places to briefly escape the cold.
“It doesn’t matter if people are sober, it doesn’t matter if they have bad records of tenancy — nothing matters as long as they are homeless and in need of supports,” said Kendra Giles, manager of innovative housing programs at Phoenix Residential Society in Regina.
“We put [housing] in place first, and then you can work on everything else after,” CBC News reported.
The federal Reaching Home program granted additional money to Phoenix Residential Society in Regina for its support teams for the expansion of its managed alcohol program and for other services, including driving clients to medical appointments, teaching them how to cook and clean, managing their finances, and providing addictions counseling.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)