The City of Abbotsford became a designated Community Entity under the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home program in April 2020. Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness across Canada. As a designated Community Entity under the Reaching Home program, the City of Abbotsford receives ongoing funding between 2020-2024.
As a Community Entity, the City of Abbotsford is responsible for delivering the following programs and services:
In June 2020, the City of Abbotsford entered into a four-year agreement until March 31, 2024 with the Government of Canada to act as the Community Entity (CE) responsible for administering the Designated Communities Funding Stream of the Reaching Home Program, the Government of Canada’s homelessness strategy. Reaching Home requires that all CEs facilitate a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that is inclusive and representative of the community and supports community planning and priority identification. The geographic scope of the CAB is the City of Abbotsford, as defined by Statistics Canada.
As an Advisory Board established by Council it also serves as an advisory body to Council on the implementation of the program.
The CAB will focus its attention on the following activities, in accordance with the directives of the Reaching Home Program:
- Developing an engagement strategy that includes details on how CAB membership will achieve and sustain broad and inclusive representation including from Indigenous people and People with lived and living experience.
- Developing a Community Plan which establishes community-wide outcomes and investment priorities for preventing and reducing homelessness in its five priority areas: Housing Services, Prevention and Shelter Diversion, Client Support Services, Capital Investments, Coordination of Resources and Data Collection
- Annual monitoring and progress-reporting on the Community Plan to ensure community wide outcomes are achieved;
- Planning and development of a Coordinated Access program to be implemented by March 31, 2023;
- Reviewing and recommending projects regarding the allocation of Reaching Home funds, in accordance with priority areas identified by the Community Plan.
For the purpose of the CAB, the Community Plan is directly informed by previous work on the Homelessness Prevention and Response System/Collaborative Roadmap, the City of Abbotsford Affordable Housing Strategy and Housing Needs Report, as well as the FVRD PIT Homelessness Count and the Community Data Book.
See the CAB Terms of Reference for additional information.
CAB Meetings & Agendas
- March 16, 2021 Special CAB Meeting minutes
- April 1, 2021 CAB Meeting minutes
- May 6, 2021 Regular CAB Meeting minutes
Members of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) give voice to the interests of those experiencing homelessness and to the homeless-serving community. The CAB develops the Community Plan, which identifies funding priorities to respond to local needs related to homelessness. The plan will be created by the CE approved by the CAP and Abbotsford City Council.
A coordinated access system is the process by which individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness are directed to community-level access points where trained workers use a common assessment tool to evaluate the individual or family’s depth of need, prioritize them for housing support services and then help to match them to available housing focused interventions.
Quality coordinated access systems share several features, including a centralized database that collects and displays real-time data on clients and available housing and supports; clear access points of entry; common assessment; standardized protocols; and resources (for example, staff) focused on ensuring that people can connect with appropriate housing and housing supports in an efficient manner.
- Access: the engagement point for the individual or family experiencing a housing crisis. This may include emergency shelters, mobile outreach teams, day centres, other community-based organizations and hotlines.
- Assessment: the process of gathering information about an individual or family accessing the crisis system.
- Prioritization: the process of determining the individual’s or family’s priority for housing based on information gathered through the assessment.
- Matching and referral: the process whereby the individual or family is matched to and offered housing based on project-specific eligibility, needs and preferences.
Currently Abbotsford has a Coordinated Intake and Referral System (CIR) in place that operates as our Coordinated Access System. The City of Abbotsford is currently in the process of updating this system to align with Reaching Home program guidelines and is mandated to have an updated system in place by March 31, 2023.
About the CIR
The Coordinated Intake and Referral System (CIR) is a 3 year federally funded project. Using best practices from other cities, the CIR is working with social support agencies in Abbotsford allowing the city to improve its ability to better serve the needs of homeless individuals. Overall, the results of the project will provide a sustainable foundation on which Abbotsford can launch a Housing First approach and provide a useful template for other similar-sized cities to do the same.
The CIR System is co-developed by the City of Abbotsford in partnership with BC Housing, the Fraser Health Authority, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and includes Seven Memorandum of Understanding partners: Raven's Moon Resource Society, Salvation Army, Abbotsford Community Services, SARA for Women, Look Out Society, Positive Living Fraser Valley, and Cyrus Centre.
The CIR System has three streams of service delivery:
- Prevention and Diversion from Homelessness;
- Accommodation and Support to access housing and services; and
- Emergency Response.
Since its implementation launch on September 1, 2017, the system has received and responded to over 300 referrals of individuals into the system.
- The CIR System is overseen by the Intake Function, which is resourced with an Intake Function Coordinator and Housing Placement Liaison Worker, who both work as part of the Inter-Agency Care Team.
- Individuals or agencies can refer into the Abbotsford Coordinated Intake and Referral model for assistance and access to housing, health services, income assistance and community integration supports.
- The Intake Function has been made possible by $95,000 in contribution funding from PGNAETA through the Government of Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy’s Rural and Remote Homelessness funding stream.
CIR Final Reports:
The City of Abbotsford partners on the following initiatives as our response to homelessness in the community.
The City of Abbotsford, in partnership with the Fraser Health Authority and support from BC Housing launched an Inter-Agency Care Team in September 2017. This team offers health-centered outreach based support and housing placement for individuals, who require access to housing, health, income assistance and support connections.
The Abbotsford Community Hub Centre opened in February 2019, and is an inter-agency, integrated support service that provides individuals experiencing complex health and social challenges with access to housing, health and pharmacy services, income assistance, essential services, and community integration supports. The Hub, which is integrated with Phoenix Society, Inasmuch Society-MOSAIC, Healthy Aging Abbotsford, reduces barriers for individuals accessing vital support services.
The City works in partnership with local service providers and BC Housing to provide emergency shelter spaces. Visit the BC Housing website for more information on shelter spaces and to find help finding shelter.