B.C. announces creation of first-ever 'navigation centre' to help homeless

VANCOUVER — The British Columbia government and the City of Vancouver are trying a new way to help get homeless people off the streets with the country's first-ever navigation centre.

The Vancouver centre would have 60 beds, support and services to help people with addictions and other health issues to find more permanent housing.

The provincial government allocated $1.5 million in funding a year for the next three years to create two centres, with the second centre expected to be announced for Vancouver Island.

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says they continue to build more supportive homes for people who are homeless but there's also a need to support those who have complex challenges while being homeless.

Residents referred to the navigation centre will be able to stay until longer-term housing is available.

A location for the Vancouver centre hasn't yet been identified, but the provincial government and the city are aiming for it to be operational by the spring of next year.

"Navigation centres provide the opportunity for individualized care that can adjust and change based on a person’s unique needs and circumstances," said Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson in a statement on Wednesday.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Aug. 5, 2020.

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