Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl announced $70

Federal government funds research project in Hope area

New study focuses on understanding the root causes of homelessness

Hope & Area Transition Society has received a federal funding boost to help address homelessness.

Almost $70,000 has been provided through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) for a new research project aimed at identifying people migrating to Hope, Boston Bar and Agassiz.

“Too often I think there’s the temptation for governments to impose solutions or think they know what’s happening in rural and remote communities,” said Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl. “So projects like this actually get on the ground, local knowledge which will help the community itself determine how best to address the issues facing the homeless and those at risk of being homeless.”

Once the study is completed, a final report will be shared with other similarly sized communities across the country to assist with future community planning.

Gerry Dyble, executive director of Hope & Area Transition Society, said the new initiative builds on local research that’s already been started.

“It will further add to the body of knowledge about homelessness, why people end up homeless and how service provisions can further be enhanced to respond positively and constructively to this social problem,” she said. “As an agency in the community, we are excited to see the results of the research and turn this research into practice.”

HPS aims to prevent and reduce homelessness by providing direct support and funding to 61 designated communities across Canada. The program recognizes housing stability as a key  factor in the success of other interventions, such as education and training, life skills development or management of mental health issues.

HPS took effect in April 2007 with annual funding of $134.8 million for two years. In September 2008, the federal government committed to investing more than $1.9 billion  over five years in housing and homelessness programs.