Solving homelessness complex

In Maple Ridge, more than 350 people accessed the Salvation Army’s emergency shelter from January to October 2015.

Editor, The News:

Re: Province committed to Sally Ann (The News, Jan. 5).

The provincial government continues to work with the City of Maple Ridge and all of our partners, such as the Salvation Army, to address the issue of homelessness in Maple Ridge.

The Salvation Army is a long-standing, valued partner.

It is British Columbia’s largest provider of emergency shelter spaces and we commend their services to helping those in need.

It provides addictions rehabilitation, meal programs, shelters and transitional housing in six communities across B.C.

Its work also includes caring for seniors, offering services for women and children suffering from domestic abuse, and community and family services.

In Maple Ridge, more than 350 people accessed the Salvation Army’s emergency shelter from January to October 2015.

Of those, 65 per cent were placed into permanent housing.

This shelter delivers a range of important shelter and support services, including a daily drop-in program, meals, counselling, medical services and extreme weather shelter.

We also performed an operational review on the Salvation Army and concluded that it is meeting our expectations.

We will continue to work with the Salvation Army to ensure the shelter is fully accessible and meets the needs of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

We all want what is best for people in need and I appreciate the Mayor Nicole Read’s enthusiasm in trying to find a long-term solution.

This is something we take seriously, as well.

Last year, the B.C. government invested over $5 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 1,100 households in Maple Ridge.

In 2013, the province partnered with the city to open Alouette Heights. This development provides 46 apartments of supportive housing for people with stabilized mental health challenges and physical disabilities.

Provincially, we have invested $4.4 billion since 2001 to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families.

This year, more than 102,500 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.

Solving homelessness is a complex issue and every level of government has a part to play.

The province remains committed to continuing its relationship with the city to make sure everyone in the community has access to a safe and affordable place to stay.

Rich Coleman,

Deputy Premier

Minister Responsible

for Housing