PoCo closer to helping homeless

Posted on October 27, 2010

By Jennifer McFee, Coquitlam NOW

The Homes For Good Society is one step closer to its goal of ending homelessness in the Tri-Cities.

Last Tuesday, the non-profit organization reached a long-awaited agreement with the Ministry of Housing that will allow plans to proceed.

“That’s what we were waiting for. We really couldn’t move forward until we had an agreement with the ministry on how we were going to implement our housing-first initiative,” said Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore.

“Things are going to start happening now in the sense that we’re going to start board development and fundraising. We’re going to start working to solidify our partnerships and then start looking for clients to house.”

The Homes for Good Society launched last October, stemming from Port Coquitlam’s action team on homelessness. It focuses on a housing-first model of providing homes and wrap-around services to help chronically homeless people stay off the streets.

The group had originally hoped to house 10 homeless people in the Tri-Cities by the end of March 2010, and another 30 by the end of this year.

The five-year plan seeks to find homes for all homeless people in the Tri-Cities and then expand services to other communities.

However, the process stalled due to red-tape.

“The province has regulations that do not allow subsidizing rent, and that’s in essence what we would like to do with the housing-first strategy. So we had to work with them to develop a model that we weren’t actually subsidizing the individual for housing,” Moore said.

“That’s why it took some challenges, because they didn’t want to change their regulations, which I can understand. So we had to work through how the operational model was going to be different.”

Although there is no timeline yet for when the first homeless person will be housed through the organization, Moore is optimistic plans will proceed quickly.

“We’re working as hard and as fast as we can to house someone as soon as possible,” he said.

“We really think once we have the first person housed and have a relationship with the landlord and figure out some of those operational issues, then housing the next person and the next 10 people will happen much quicker because we’ve figured out some of the things we need to do.

“We’re very excited as a group.”

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