Earlier today Bob Zimmer, Member of Parliament for Prince Geroge-Peave River made an announcement on behalf of the federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Diane Finley, that Prince Rupert will be receiving $100,000 to help people who are homeless or people who are at risk of becoming homeless have their basic and essential food needs addressed as part of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (or HPS) is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing the rate of homelessness by providing support and funding to 61 designated communities across Canada, one of which being Prince Rupert. HPS relies on communities to determine their own needs and to develop appropriate projects.
In Prince Rupert, the $100,000 that is being received will be used by the Salvation Army to operate the food bank, and the soup kitchen that offers healthy and nutritious meals reviewed by a hospital dietician. Captain Gary Sheils of the Prince Rupert Salvation Army says that around 300 families utilize the food bank each month, with about 4,000 meals being given out at the soup kitchen in a month. As well, part of the $100,000 funding will be going towards additional support services, including life-skills training, referrals to employment programs and assistance to find housing. The Prince Rupert Salvation Army has received funding through HPS last year, and in 2003 and 2004.
“The Government of Canada is giving a hand-up to Canadians with housing needs and is helping people seeking to break free from the cycle of homelessness and poverty. The Salvation Army is well known for its humanitarian efforts and it’s a pleasure to partner with them to offer these important services to those in need,” said MP Zimmer.
The HPS first took affected on April 1, 2007, with an annual funding number of $134.8 million for two years. Then in September of 2008, the Government committed to investing even more money, this time over $1.9 billion in housing and homelessness programs for five years. This includes a renewal of the HPS until March of 2014.
On March 12 of this year, there was a totally of 1,771 approved projects totalling over $638 million that were funded under the HPS to try to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada.
The aim of HPS is to provide structures and supports that can help people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness to achieve self-sufficiency and full participation in society.