The City of Delta is receiving $186,209 in joint provincial and federal funding for its COVID-19 Homelessness Response program.
On Thursday (Aug. 12), the province announced funding for 48 communities via its Strengthening Communities’ Services program to help local governments increase services in response to homelessness made worse by the pandemic.
“Local governments have been on the front lines of the pandemic, supporting communities and continuing to provide critical services when people need them most,” Minister of Municipal Affairs Josie Osborne said in a press release.
“These grants will provide local governments with a much-needed boost to continue vital services that were strained because of the pandemic. This is another StrongerBC program focused on making life better for people and ensuring communities emerge from the pandemic even stronger than before.”
According to a provincial government news release, more than $76 million is being invested in projects such as outreach and mental health supports, and expanding or creating new temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness through the Strengthening Communities’ Services Program, giving local governments and modern Treaty Nations additional capacity to address the effects of homelessness and keep their communities safe and healthy as they recover from the pandemic.
The program is open to all municipalities, regional districts and modern Treaty Nations in B.C. and is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) on behalf of the province.
“B.C. local governments have been calling for additional funding to improve services for residents facing mental-health challenges or homelessness,” UBCM president Brian Frenkel said in a press release.
“The Strengthening Communities program is highly adaptable to the specific needs of communities and is fostering creativity and innovation in how services are delivered. I appreciate the provincial funding for this program and look forward to seeing these new projects move into implementation.”
The program is part of the Safe Restart Agreement, which is funded equally by the province and the federal government. As well as providing $100 million Strengthening Communities’ Services Program, the $540 million in shared funding is being used to subsidize $425 million in direct grants for local government operations to address facility reopening and operating costs, emergency response costs, lost revenue and other COVID-19-related effects.
Another $15 million in shared funding is going towards the Local Government Development Approvals Program to increase the efficiency of local development approval processes.