Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Diane Deans, Chair of the Community and Protective Services Committee, held a community celebration at City Hall today marking the first 250 participants to secure permanent housing as part of the Housing First initiative, a priority of the City’s Ten-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan.

“The Housing First initiative launched in June 2015 with an initial goal of housing 250 long-stay emergency shelter clients by December 2016. I am excited to announce that we have achieved this goal earlier than expected,” said Mayor Watson. “As of today, more than 297 individuals have been permanently housed with the supports they need to keep their housing and remain stable.”

Housing First finds permanent, affordable housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and provides the support services and connections to community-based help that people need to stay housed.

“This a significant milestone for the city, for our residents, and for our community partners who are working with us to provide those in need with a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Chair Deans. “Housing First is a key initiative that helps people experiencing homelessness find housing and access the resources they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives.”

As part of the event, a painting entitled ‘Transitions’ was unveiled representing the journey from homelessness to being housed.  Local artist Chi Wei Lee developed the artwork drawing from his own personal experience with homelessness. It was framed by Mark Andrew Buttigieg and will be hung in Jean Pigott Place in City Hall.

Council approved A Home For Everyone: Our Ten Year Plan 2014-2024 in 2013. The plan focuses on three priorities: everyone has a home, people get the support they need, and working together. The overall objective of the plan is to eliminate chronic homelessness by 2024.