Streetohome began its journey in 2008, with Board Chair John McLernon leading the way. $32 million has been raised to leverage building supportive housing and implementing homelessness prevention initiatives over the last 10 years.
Realizing that employment, and mental health and substance use challenges are root causes of homelessness, Streetohome shifted its thinking to focus on prevention in 2018, and with support from KPMG, completed two business cases that would build a case of support in adapting two evidence-based models to Vancouver – the Addiction Recovery Community Housing model and Delancey Street Vancouver model.
“We’ve moved our dialogue from supportive housing to prevention, but this was still a part of our original 2008 strategy,” says John. “The private sector and public sector came together and worked hard to put together a strategic plan and we really took a long-term view. Homelessness and individuals with lived experience are a very important cause, and hopefully, the people are living a better life because of what we’re doing.”
The first homeless count in 2008 counted about 1700 people, of which 75% were unsheltered and on the street John explains. Today, the numbers are around 2,100, with only 30% on the street, and the 2020 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver Preliminary Data Report showed that there has been a slight decrease in the amount of individuals experiencing homelessness in the city of Vancouver in the past year.
“We haven’t eliminated it, but I think we have a better handle on it and are slowing the progression of it.
“There’s no silver bullet solution to homelessness, but we are getting somewhere. lf some of these programs blossom how we think they will, we should at least stabilize the situation.”