British Columbia

B.C. announces creation of Canada's first 'navigation centre' to help homeless

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.

Vancouver centre will feature 60 beds, support and services for people with addictions and other health issues

The province is committing $4.5 million over three years to create two navigation centres, one in Vancouver and the other expected to be in Vancouver Island. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

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

The planned 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 while more supportive homes are being built for people who are homeless, 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.

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