Reaching Home

What is Reaching Home? 

Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy is the Government of Canada’s 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 2027. 

Reaching Home Response to COVID-19 

In March 2020, the Government of Canada announced additional funding to temporarily support people at risk of or experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nanaimo received an additional $346,000 through the two streams to help with the response. Those funds were distributed to: 

  • continue to offer homeless intervention outreach services in a safe way 
  • re-open existing services in keeping with COVID-19 health and safety regulations 
  • create new transitional housing 
  • provide urgent outreach services for substance use and addiction 
  • provide mobile outreach for Indigenous homeless youth
  • connect Indigenous clients to health services, mental health support, and substance use treatment. 
  • open a free shower program and food and water provisions for people facing homelessness 
  • offer food hampers, personal hygiene supplies etc.   
  • peer-led, community response initiatives in response to opioid overdose increases 

What Reaching Home funds does Nanaimo receive?  

Nanaimo is a designated community to receive funds from the Government of Canada through Reaching Home. Funding is provided to Nanaimo through two project streams:

Indigenous Homelessness: providing funding to organizations that offer supports to meet the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

Designated Communities: providing funding to organizations who help support people experiencing homelessness, while working to reduce homelessness. 

Nanaimo receives approximately $525,000 annually to reinvest into Nanaimo’s efforts to end homelessness through the Designated Communities Stream. Another $217,000 is allocated for the Indigenous Homelessness Stream. 

How are the Funds invested? 

In Nanaimo, Reaching Home funds are invested in the following areas: 

  • Housing Services 
  • Prevention and Shelter Diversion 
  • Support Services 
  • Capital Investments 
  • Coordination of Resources and Data Collection 

How are funds distributed in Nanaimo?  

United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI) is the Community Entity (CE) for the Reaching Home initiative. As CE, it is the administrator for Federal Government funding and investments.  

All Canadian communities that receive Reaching Home funding are required to have a Community Advisory Board (CAB). In Nanaimo, the CAB are voting members of the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition, formed by 30 agencies and government representatives. 

The CAB plays a key role in establishing priorities to prevent and reduce homelessness in the community, encourages partnerships, coordinates community efforts, identifies priorities through a planning process, and votes on projects that should receive funding from the CE.  

What is the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition? 

The Nanaimo Homeless Coalition brings together non-profit organizations, governments and concerned citizens to create a united front. Together we are developing and driving solutions to end homelessness while diminishing the harm caused by homelessness on individuals and community. 

The Nanaimo Homeless Coalition offers guidance and direction on service delivery for our most at-risk residents. By bringing together the many organizations working to address homelessness, we are more impactful and effective in our collaboration. 

Coordinated Access System (CAS)

What is Coordinated Access?

As part of the Federal Government’s Reaching Home investment, it’s required for Nanaimo to have a Coordinated Access System (CAS) in place by March 31, 2022. CAS helps people facing homelessness access assistance in a coordinated and standardized way, which connects them with the support they need and places them into housing more efficiently. Currently, Nanaimo’s system is decentralized, so when someone needs help it’s not always clear to them where to go or what programs are available; they often end up applying for multiple programs at the same time to increase their chances of being accepted. A centralized system can help decrease waitlists so people can access the support they need and find appropriate housing more quickly. A CAS will make the most of existing resources and help organizations collect better information about their clients so they can improve their level of care. All service providers will be able to access the same confidential information so they can better understand their clients’ needs and connect them with housing and supports in a more streamlined way.

Coordinated Access Graphic

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