British Columbia

Feds pledge $51.5M to quickly house homeless people in Vancouver

Mayor Kennedy Stewart said the $51.5-million investment will provide "much needed" affordable housing for people in the face of the "dual health emergencies" of COVID-19 and the toxic drug overdose crisis.

Rapid Housing Initiative funds will be combined with mayor's $30M emergency housing initiative

The homeless camp in Strathcona Park is one of several that have been set up in Vancouver since the pandemic began. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The federal government is investing more than $50 million in helping Vancouver quickly house some of the city's most vulnerable people living in parks and on the streets, Mayor Kennedy Stewart has announced.

The money is part of the $1-billion Rapid Housing Initiative developed during discussions between the federal government and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Big City Mayors' Caucus in response to the COVID-19 crisis, a statement from the city said.

Stewart said the $51.5-million investment will help provide "much needed" affordable housing for people in the face of the "dual health emergencies" of COVID-19 and the toxic drug overdose crisis.

"As I've said time and again, there is no silver bullet. We're at the beginning of a long road that Vancouver cannot walk alone, but today's announcement shows that Ottawa has our back," Stewart said in the statement.

The money will be delivered through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The funding comes on the heels of city council's approval of Stewart's own funding package of $30 million for emergency housing to support homeless people.

"This $51.5-million commitment, combined with our own local investments, will allow us to rapidly stabilize the lives of hundreds of our neighbours and the communities they call home," Stewart said.

The statement said Stewart has secured nearly half a billion dollars for major housing investments from senior governments since coming to municipal office.

"The next step will be to convince the province of British Columbia to provide the wrap-around services we need to alleviate homelessness in Strathcona, the Downtown Eastside, and the West End," he said.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?