Liberals set to unveil changes to key program fighting homelessness
OTTAWA—A cornerstone federal strategy to combat homelessness is set to receive a makeover this week that’s expected to focus on outcomes, rather than how quickly cities are spending.
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy is the key vehicle through which federal money flows to cities for funding local efforts to help people get off the streets and into homes. Despite some successes, the program has come under criticism for having burdensome reporting requirements and too restrictive a scope.
Social Development Minister Jean-yves Duclos is expected to address those concerns Monday when he unveils planned changes to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and the rules governing $2.1 billion in program funds to be spent over the next decade.
The government is expected to take an outcomes-based approach to the fund by providing money in exchange for results, rather than timely spending. The changes are also expected to allow money to be spent on projects that are outside the “housing first” umbrella, which stipulates that they find housing and services for people right away, rather than requiring them to seek treatment first.
The government has taken a long look at the program after hearing complaints about cumbersome reporting requirements, inadequate funding and unrealistic expectations about how quickly the money could be spent.