Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, but as we have seen in communities across our country, far too many Canadians face the daily unacceptable reality of experiencing homelessness. Homelessness affects every community in Canada. It is a grim reality for far too many Canadians. It preys on the most vulnerable amongst us, casting a shadow over their lives.
Homelessness ultimately has an impact on all of us. It leaves an enduring mark on all of our communities. As a government, we have recognized this and we have heeded the call to action.
The Government of Canada, recognizing the urgency of the matter, has responded through Reaching Home, Canada's homelessness strategy. Launched in 2019, the program committed $2.2 billion to address homelessness across the country. It has now grown to almost $4 billion in funding. Budgets 2021 and 2022 strengthened this initiative to further empower communities so that they can better address the needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Reaching Home is the embodiment of hope—a community-based program that empowers urban, Indigenous, rural and remote communities to help them address local homelessness needs.
The Government of Canada supports communities in establishing “coordinated access”, an integrated systems-based approach that prioritizes assistance for those in greatest need to ensure that they find suitable housing and comprehensive services.
The impact of Reaching Home is tangible. It is felt within our communities every day. In just the first three years, Reaching Home has funded over 5,000 projects across the country, helping to place more than 46,000 people experiencing homelessness in permanent housing. Moreover, over 87,000 people in need benefited from prevention and shelter diversion services through the program's support.
As part of our government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reaching Home, with increased funding, created over 26,000 temporary accommodation spaces. These spaces provided crucial shelter for Canadians, offering them a lifeline during a time of social distancing. In total, more than 214,000 temporary accommodation placements were made to support individuals in need, when it was needed most.
That is the impact that Reaching Home is having across the country. It is playing a key role to support our national housing strategy's target of reducing chronic homelessness by 50% by 2027. We have committed further to ending chronic homelessness by 2030.
This is the goal that is at the heart of the national housing strategy, a bold 10-year plan backed by an $82-billion investment to ensure that more people in Canada have a safe and affordable place to call home. The national housing strategy is built on strong partnerships between the Government of Canada, provinces and territories, and on continuous engagement with partners, including municipalities, indigenous governments, the private sector and non-profit organizations.
The strategy is the largest, most ambitious federal housing program in Canada's history, and strives to create livable communities for families and individuals. It's a comprehensive approach to addressing housing needs head-on.
The NHS supports the creation of new affordable homes and purpose-built rental homes, and it preserves, repairs and revitalizes community housing while also committing funding to the needs of vulnerable populations.
To address the overrepresentation of indigenous peoples among those experiencing homelessness, Reaching Home has invested $370 million since 2019 to indigenous-led and culturally relevant programs and services. This includes funding for 37 urban, rural and remote communities under the indigenous homelessness stream. It also includes funding for distinctions-based approaches co-developed with national indigenous organizations and modern treaty holders to address the specific needs of first nations, Métis and Inuit across the country.
The success of the national housing strategy hinges upon the strength of our partnerships. It is continuously informed by extensive consultations with Canadians from all walks of life, especially those with lived experience of housing need.
The Government of Canada is investing $18.1 million over three years to conduct action research on chronic homelessness. We stand in support of participating communities in the effort to identify and document persistent barriers to preventing and reducing chronic homelessness.
In addition, we are piloting innovative potential approaches that address these barriers head-on. The research findings obtained will help us to develop strategies and identify pathways to ending chronic homelessness in communities across Canada.
Homelessness does not discriminate. It affects people from all walks of life. Whether they are seniors, youth, individuals with disabilities, veterans or families, no one should face the reality of being without a home.
According to census 2021, there were an estimated 460,000 Canadian veterans, with over 2,500 experiencing homelessness. That's why last month Infrastructure Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada jointly announced the launch of the new veteran homelessness program. This $79.1-million program is about providing veterans with rent supports, rental supplements and wraparound services that meet their particular needs. It is also about building capacity for veteran-serving organizations so that they can engage in research on veteran homelessness to deepen our understanding of this issue and improve our programs and services.
We will bring an end to chronic homelessness in Canada, Mr. Chair. It will end through programs like the national housing strategy and Reaching Home, through initiatives like the veteran homelessness program, and through dedicated service, research and support to identify and address the root causes of homelessness.
Most importantly, it will end through strong partnerships. We can't do it alone. We have to continue to work with other levels of government, indigenous organizations and communities across the country.
Together with our partners, we are improving housing outcomes and reducing homelessness for Canada's vulnerable populations.
Budget 2023 reaffirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to the things that matter most to Canadians, such as making housing more affordable, fighting climate change and creating good, well-paying jobs. Through these impactful programs and the strong partnerships that I just spoke about, we will continue to make housing more affordable and end chronic homelessness in Canada.
We are committed to addressing homelessness. Our commitment is steadfast and unwavering. Everyone deserves a place to call home and a place to feel safe and secure. Every Canadian deserves a place to build a better life.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.