THE Province and City of Vancouver are partnering to launch B.C.’s first-ever “navigation” centre to help people who are experiencing long-term homelessness and require supports.
“While we continue to work with our partners to build more supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver, we know that while these homes are being built, there’s a need to support people with complex challenges who are experiencing homelessness,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This centre will provide 24/7 accommodation, individualized attention, case planning and wraparound supports to support people.”
BC Housing has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to encourage experienced and eligible non-profit partners to apply for the role of operating the centre, which will provide additional levels of support not offered in many traditional shelters. The 60-bed centre will be referral only and provide integrated clinical health supports, as well as culturally appropriate services for Indigenous peoples.
BC Housing and the City of Vancouver have been working with Vancouver Coastal Health and Kilala Lelum, an Indigenous health centre, to plan the specific health services that will be available at the site.
“Navigation centres provide the opportunity for individualized care that can adjust and change based on a person’s unique needs and circumstances,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “While we believe in an overall housing-first approach to homelessness and poverty, this centre will meet people where they are at and provide additional support that addresses barriers with compassion and expertise.”
Residents referred to the navigation centre will be able to stay until longer-term housing is secured. This enhanced shelter model has not been previously implemented in Canada in this way, but is being used successfully in cities elsewhere, including San Francisco.
“This first-in-the-country approach will help us provide more of our neighbours dealing with mental health and addiction better supports to find and keep housing,” said Kennedy Stewart, mayor, City of Vancouver. “This low-barrier, intensive support approach shows what happens when the City of Vancouver and Province of B.C. work together in partnership to deliver for the people who need it most.”
A location for the navigation centre is still being identified. It is anticipated a non-profit partner will be selected this fall, and the navigation centre is expected to be operational by spring 2021.
* Two navigation centres were announced as part of Budget 2020 with a provincial investment of $1.5 million each for three years.
* A second location is anticipated to be on Vancouver Island. Details will be announced when plans are finalized.