Nanaimo is getting its share of federal funding for community strategies combatting homelessness.
Nanaimo will receive $400,000 as part of the federal government’s Reaching Home program, which was bolstered with $157.7 million announced last month.
According to a press release from the United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island, the money is meant to support a range of needs including purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing, and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
Julie Rushton, manager of grant investments with United Way CNVI, said in the release that local service providers are grateful that the federal government recognized an urgent need and acted quickly.
“The COVID-19 virus has increased the pressure even further on our already overworked local service providers,” she said. “Those organizations offering support and shelter to residents facing homelessness have had to take extra precautions given that many of their clients are immunocompromised and at increased risk of contracting and spreading the virus.”
United Way said it will work with municipalities, band councils, B.C. Housing, Island Health and the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition to determine where the federal dollars will have the greatest impact, and the coalition will decide which agencies should receive funding.
Half of the $400,000 is earmarked specifically for addressing indigenous homelessness in Nanaimo.
UWCNVI launched its Local Love in a Global Crisis fundraising drive early in the pandemic. For more information, click here.