NORTH VANCOUVER, BC – AUG. 24, 2022 – More than $860,000 in additional federal and provincial Safe Restart funding awarded this summer will help enhance the new people-centred regional programs and services that have been offering support to people experiencing homelessness across the North Shore since last year.
Administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Strengthening Communities’ Services grant will fund Indigenous outreach, hygiene facilities, temporary shelters, staffing, training and various other services delivered through the cross-jurisdictional North Shore Partnership to improve the health and safety of people on the North Shore who are without shelter.
The partnership includes Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) Nation, səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nation, North Vancouver City Library, Lookout Housing and Health Society, North Shore Neighbourhood House, the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver and District of West Vancouver.
The partnership began providing services in fall 2021 with $1.97-million in Safe Restart funding from the provincial and federal governments, and a delivery model that focuses on meeting people where they are, building relationships, and providing culturally-appropriate programs and services.
The funding top-up will support the continuation of initiatives in place such as:
- An Urban Indigenous Outreach Team delivered through a partnership between Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Lookout Housing and Health Society, with dedicated outreach and cultural support workers.
- An Outreach and Services Team delivered by Lookout Housing and Health Society, which includes staff who are equipped with basic hygiene and health supports and who provide access to services on a flexible basis, meeting people where they are at.
- Fixed-location services including access to temporary shelter for individuals and families, the Open Door Community Hub at the North Vancouver City Library, enhanced shower programs at the John Braithwaite and West Vancouver Community Centres, and an extreme weather response program provided at North Shore Neighbourhood House.
- Improved coordination, community engagement and training, including temporary staffing to oversee initiatives and training in culturally safe and trauma-informed responses for front-line staff.
COVID-19 had substantial negative impacts on people experiencing homelessness across the North Shore, as many of the services they relied on were not available. Although many facilities have re-opened, there has been a high demand for the new temporary supports implemented through the 2021 grant. Further, while many individuals experiencing homelessness are men, the number of women, seniors and families with children living unsheltered has been growing.
Most of the new funding will be dedicated to ensuring the partner organizations can continue to deliver the programs and outreach with positive outcomes. A smaller portion of the funds will fund municipal activities to support the transition of programs as facilities re-open.
The work is part of a larger coordinated focus on homelessness by the North Shore’s three municipalities and two First Nations to work closely together on priority actions intended to prevent homelessness, better serve those experiencing homelessness, and create pathways out of homelessness.
The five jurisdictions recently endorsed the North Shore Homelessness Action Initiative report as a commitment of their intention to increase coordination and jointly pursue initiatives and funding to address this critical issue. For more information or to read the North Shore Homelessness Action Initiative report, visit cnv.org/NSHAI.
April 30th, 2022
The regional Strengthening Communities’ Services project has now been operational for six months to provide outreach, support and improved service coordination to unsheltered community members on the North Shore. In the first six months of the grant, the project has increased regional capacity to work with unhoused persons, Indigenous organizations and others working with our under-served community members in various ways. Below are some of the areas of work completed thus far.
Through hiring outreach and cultural support workers, both Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations have been working with individuals who identify as Indigenous on the North Shore alongside Lookout Society. Coordination efforts between the Nations, municipalities, and Lookout Society have been created through regular team meet ups. Squamish Nation has also been able to provide access to temporary shelter rooms in motels to individuals experiencing homelessness.
The District of North Vancouver has secured a RV Van Conversion to serve as a mobile unit to be used as a base for provision of outreach services at locations across the North Shore to meet people where they live. The mobile unit also facilitates community conversation and public engagement about homelessness through attending public events. This work has been spearheaded by the hired Community Access Coordinator.
Lookout Society has established a mobile outreach team including an outreach operations manager, two full time outreach workers, and an Indigenous outreach worker. Lookout has also secured a vehicle equipped with hygiene and health supplies and two e-bikes to help access areas of the North Shore that may not be as accessible by car.
The City of North Vancouver will be expanding an existing shower service at John Braithwaite Community Center as an enhanced shower program with the services of a community access worker who can provide community members with information on additional resources and other supplies. The shower program is expected to operate 6 days/week.
The District of West Vancouver has relocated their temporary shower program from Ambleside Field House to the West Vancouver Community Center and has hired an Access Services Coordinator to provide additional supports to patrons accessing the shower program, including comfort/care kits.
CNV Library has launched an Open Door Community Hub at CNV Library as a warming/cooling/clean air/safe space program and hired an Access Worker to facilitate various activities and provide a welcoming space for community members twice a week with care kits, snacks, and refreshments.
Cultural safety and mental health first aid training will be provided through the grant to all frontline workers.