Thanks to support from the Government of Canada, the University of New Brunswick (UNB) can prepare for the establishment of a permanent transitional housing facility for people in need.

The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, Minister of National Revenue, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Member of Parliament for Fredericton, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

“Our government is giving a hand-up to Canadians with housing needs and is helping those seeking to break free from the cycle of homelessness and poverty,” said Minister Ashfield. “We are pleased to be working with the University of New Brunswick. Through partnerships like this one, our government can develop and deliver the programs and services that Canadians need.”

UNB’s Faculty of Nursing will receive over $95,000 through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, which will enable the University to conduct pre-development work for the establishment of a new facility in Fredericton that will provide transitional housing and support services. The work will include developing a business plan and blueprint, as well as finding space for the facility. The proposal will explore the inclusion of 24 transitional housing units and a health clinic for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“UNB’s existing health clinic in Fredericton saw more than 8,000 visits last year alone for both health and social services,” said Greg Kealey, UNB Provost and Vice President, Research. “Transitional housing for those who need it supports healing and wellness. This initiative will enhance our health clinic, supporting the needs of our community and also the teaching, learning and research that take place there.”

In September 2008, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $1.9 billion over five years, until 2014, for housing and homelessness programs for low income Canadians. This commitment gives the Government the flexibility to work with the provinces and territories and municipalities, and with charitable organizations, to develop ways to improve the effectiveness of federal spending in the area of housing and homelessness.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan has built on these investments by making an additional one time investment of more than $2 billion over two years in new and existing social housing, and by making available up to $2 billion in loans to Canadian municipalities over two years for housing related infrastructure improvements. The Government’s investments are creating jobs, stimulating local economies and improving the quality of life for many Canadians. To learn more about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, please visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

The availability of safe and stable housing and related supports is an important element in addressing homelessness and helping individuals who are homeless achieve greater self sufficiency and a better quality of life. The Homelessness Partnering Strategy emphasizes longer term supportive and transitional housing by focusing on a housing first approach to help people make the transition out of the cycle of homelessness.

For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, please visit www.hrsdc.gc.ca/homelessness .