Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Concrete action being taken to reduce homelessness in Langley: Supportive Housing and the ICM Team

Back in April 2016, Langley City council adopted a Homelessness Strategic Plan. One of the recommendations of that plan was to form a Homelessness Action Table with representation from all levels of government, social service agencies, and faith-based organizations in our community.

You can read in more detail on a previous post, but in short, the Homelessness Action Table has the following goals:

  • Form a Homelessness Integration Team
  • Create a partnership agreement between the City and Township
  • Support the feasibility study for a permanent supportive housing project
  • Increase the number of rent supplements in the Langley
  • Support the feasibility of developing a Youth Safe House
  • Support integrated intervention approaches to health and housing

As was presented at last night’s Langley City council meeting, progress is being made on all six goals. By having everyone at the table, things get done to reduce homelessness in Langley.

Langley City council heard a presentation from Langley Community Services Society and Stepping Stone Community Services Society last night.

The Langley Youth Resource Centre is currently under construction at 203 Street and 62 Avenue, just outside the Langley City border in the Township of Langley.

BC Housing recently purchased The Quality Inn located by the Home Deport along 200 Street in the Township of Langley, and is working through the approval process to convert the facility to provide 49 units of supportive housing. This facility will also have programming space, and will serve as the permanent home of Langley’s new Intensive Case Management team.

Supportive housing is for people with mental health, substance use, and/or other challenges, and includes “on-site, non-clinical supports, such as life-skills training, and connections to primary health care, mental health or substance use services.”

Langley’s new Intensive Case Management (ICM) team recently launched. This team was announced back in March with the mandate to “conduct street outreach to connect those who are homeless with immediate, stable shelter – and then longer-term housing as appropriate.” In addition, the province is providing rent subsidizes for 30 people in the ICM program to ensure that people can get off the street. The Quality Inn will also have space for people in the ICM program.

Langley’s social services agencies which include Langley Community Services Society, Stepping Stone Community Services Society, Encompass Support Services Society, and the Gateway of Hope came together to form the ICM team which is funded by the province through Fraser Health.

Having an ICM team and, if approved, a supportive housing facility in Langley will give people living on the street a path forward to being able to live independently. People will be able to get help, moving from shelter to supportive housing to programs such as the Gateway of Hope’s Opportunities Program to living independently.

While there are currently more people who are homeless in Langley than spaces available at the Quality Inn, this is a great start in providing a long-term solution to reducing the number of people who are living on the street in our community. I’m hopefully that the new provincial government will increase funding to the ICM team and build more supportive housing in Langley.

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