The Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy is a federal program that funds communities to prevent, address, and work towards reducing chronic homelessness. Nanaimo and the Cowichan Region are designated communities with Reaching Home.
Reaching Home is making a difference by:
- Supporting initiatives helping to prevent and reduce homelessness.
- Ensuring grants meet local needs by putting funding decisions in the hands of local service providers, residents, and First Nations.
- Developing Coordinated Access Systems (CAS) to provide streamlined access to housing and supports.
- More Information
- Nanaimo CAB
- Cowichan CAB
- Coordinated Access Systems
- Funded Programs
- Grants & Opportunities
Reaching Home & United Way British Columbia
United Way BC (Central and Northern Vancouver Island) is a designated Community Entity (CE) for Reaching Home in Nanaimo and Cowichan.
This role means that we:
- Leverage decades of local relationships with service providers and community programs
- Provide administrative support to CABs in Nanaimo and Cowichan
- Hold and administer funding dollars as directed by local CABs
United Way British Columbia has been the CE in Nanaimo for more than five years, and the CE in the Cowichan area for even longer. We’re proud to utilize our existing relationships with local agencies, our knowledge of local programs, and our years of studying local needs to help direct funding to truly impactful initiatives. As part of Reaching Home, we’re not only getting people housing and support but making our communities a better home for everyone.
All Reaching Home funding recipients are required to submit reporting documents to their Community Entity (CE). These reports are shared with the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy to track spending, measure impact and efficacy, and inform future policies and programs.
In addition, Reaching Home operates on a reimbursement model, where recipients submit program expenses in accordance with their approved budget.
Please refer to your Reaching Home contract for your specific reporting requirements.
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Nanaimo Community Advisory Board (CAB)
The Nanaimo Community Advisory Board (CAB) on Homelessness was formed to align leadership, who together, oversee investments made in the Nanaimo region to prevent and address homelessness through the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.
The Nanaimo CAB receives funding from Reaching Home to invest in solutions to end homelessness for Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the community.
Investments are guided by the Reaching Home: Nanaimo Community Homelessness Plan 2021-24 which was developed with input from community partners and updated regularly.
Nanaimo’s Health and Housing Action Plan
The City of Nanaimo’s Health and Housing Task Force, the Nanaimo CAB (formerly the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition), and United Way BC, partnered to develop a 5-year Health and Housing Action Plan (HHAP) to address health and housing priorities.
In early 2021, the Health and Housing Task Force endorsed the new Health and Housing Action Plan to meet the demands of our community and are now working to create a Governance Board to oversee its implementation.
COVID-19 Emergency Response in Nanaimo
CAB members approved more than $1M in Reaching Home COVID-19 emergency funding to address the challenges presented as a result of the pandemic. Some of these programs include:
- Warming Centres: Warming centres for those unsheltered to warm-up during the day when cold, wet weather hits Nanaimo.
- Shelter: Overnight safe shelter for those facing homelessness within Nanaimo.
- Health & Safety: Emergency funding to help shelter spaces comply with COVID-19 health and safety regulations.
- Essentials: Offering essentials such as food, PPE, and warm and dry clothes through outreach programs.
Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy
Tze Tza Watul (Cowichan) Community Advisory Board (CAB)
The Tze Tza Watul, Cowichan Community Advisory Board (CAB) on Homelessness was formed to align leadership to oversee investments made in the Cowichan region to address homelessness through the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.
Tze Tza Watul receives funding from Reaching Home to invest in solutions to end homelessness for Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the community.
Investments are guided by the Reaching Home: Cowichan Community Homelessness Plan 2021-24 (2020-2021 Report) which was developed with input from community partners and updated regularly.
Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy
Coordinated Access Systems
As part of Reaching Home funding requirements, both Nanaimo and Cowichan will develop a Coordinated Access System (CAS) to streamline the way individuals and families experiencing (or at risk of) homelessness can access services.
What is Coordinated Access?
Coordinated Access Systems are a process through which people are provided access to housing and support based on a standardized intake process and needs assessment. CAS will improve efficiency, and connect people in need to support and referrals sooner.
The Government of Canada has identified 4 key objectives of Coordinated Access:
- Help communities ensure fairness and prioritize people most in need of assistance.
- Help more people move through the system faster.
- Reduce the number of new people entering into homelessness.
- Improve data collection and quality to inform services and support.
What has been funded through Reaching Home?
In 2021/2022, United Way funded 62 agencies and 84 programs/activities in Cowichan and Nanaimo thanks to the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.
The Reaching Home program distributes funding through several streams, each with its own requirements. Additional Reaching Home funding was provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Emergency Funding: Non-recurring funding divided into Indigenous and Designated streams meant to provide additional support to the homeless-serving sector.
Annual Allocations: Recurring funding provided annually for a number of years. These funds can be used to provide multi-year support to a particular service or pay for one-off project expenses. Funds are divided into Indigenous and Designated streams.
Indigenous Stream: Funds organizations that meet the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Intended for Indigenous organizations in urban centres.
Designated Stream: Provides long-term, stable funding to organizations addressing homelessness in the Designated Community.
2022-2023 Funded Agencies
Grants & Opportunities
The 2023-2024 Reaching Home request for proposals (RFP) opens on Monday, August 21st, 2023, and closes on Wednesday, September 27th. Once the RFP is open, you will be able to access the opportunity here: https://resources.uwbc.ca/ (will be open on Monday, August 21)
We recommend that you take some time to familiarize yourself with the 2023-24 Reaching Home RFP opportunity. Click the appropriate Application Guide to learn more.
How to get started with the online portal: United Way BC Granting Portal User Application Guide
For technical assistance please contact JennyL@uwbc.ca
Would you like to know more about Reaching Home funding, eligibility, what makes a strong application, and how to use the online portal? There are two webinar opportunities being offered.
Tuesday, August 22nd from 10 – 11 am
Monday, August 28th from 1 – 2 pm
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred webinar date and the names and emails of those who would like to attend.
About Reaching Home Funding
Reaching Home funding is available in the Cowichan Region (including Duncan) and in the City of Nanaimo. There are Designated and Indigenous streams in each of the locations.
Providing funding to organizations that help support Indigenous people living off Nation (Reserve) and who are experiencing homelessness and/ or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
Reaching Home projects address the following challenges:
- Housing Services: Services that lead to an individual or family transitioning into more stable housing that has been deemed appropriate and safe.
- Coordination of Resources & Data Collection: Activities that enhance understanding of local homelessness issues and help support decision-making and longer-term planning.
- Client Support Services: Individualized services to help improve integration and connectedness to support structures, such as the provision of basic needs and clinical or other treatment services, as well as economic, social, and community integration services.
- Prevention and Shelter Diversion: Activities aimed at preventing homelessness by supporting individuals and families at imminent risk of homelessness before a crisis occurs.
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Reaching Home in Your Community
Find all Reaching Home interviews on our YouTube channel.
We’d love to hear from you!