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$125,000 donation just in time for housing program

A program that helps the homeless find stable housing has been given a timely boost by the Victoria Foundation. Streets to Homes will be able to continue full operations thanks to the foundation’s $125,000 donation.
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Streets to Homes began in 2009 with a goal of helping 30 people break the cycle of homelessness.

A program that helps the homeless find stable housing has been given a timely boost by the Victoria Foundation.

Streets to Homes will be able to continue full operations thanks to the foundation’s $125,000 donation. The money came just as the program was facing a “significant shortfall,” said Karyn French of Pacifica Housing, the agency that oversees Streets to Homes.

French said the money will allow the program to keep going until it becomes eligible for new United Way funding in April. The United Way has previously backed the program.

Streets to Homes began as a pilot project in 2009 through the efforts of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and a number of other organizations, and had a goal of helping 30 people break the cycle of homelessness. The program is currently able to provide housing for 120 people at a time.

Those involved in the program are given a rent subsidy and are helped to become self-sufficient through supports that can range from life-skills training to assistance with mental-health issues.

The program has been a “proven success,” said Andrew Wynn-Williams, executive director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. He said he is hopeful government funding can eventually be secured.

The coalition’s Kelsi Stiles said similar housing strategies have worked well in other locations. “Lots of other communities all over North America have done it with equal success, so we saw the opportunity.”

Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson said in a statement that the funding is going to a worthy cause.

“Both ourselves and our donors appreciate the importance of keeping people housed, especially those most vulnerable in our society.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com