City examines new funding for permanent supportive housing in Regina
REGINA -- City staff have outlined a new plan that could see $740,000 in annual funding for permanent supportive housing, an initiative that could have an immediate impact to people experiencing homelessness.
In a report heading to the Mayor’s Housing Commission on Tuesday, city staff said the funding would create about 20 new permanent supportive housing spaces.
Permanent supportive housing provides affordable assistance and voluntary support services to address needs of people experiencing homelessness.
The funding would have to be approved by city council at a future date before it becomes official, but administration is suggesting the dollars come from the Housing Incentive Program.
Even though funds would come from the incentive program, the city said its annual commitment of $2.5 million to the social development reserve would remain unchanged.
The report comes after city council directed staff to develop a new funding stream to help end homelessness in Regina.
Staff will do further consultation with the housing commission and affordable housing developers before proceeding with a final recommendation.
The final recommendation and city council’s decision on the funding is expected sometime in the first quarter of 2021.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING SPURS SAVINGS
In the report, city administration found the city’s Housing First model has provided cost savings for Regina.
Because of housing, it said, there has been a reduction in calls for service and interactions with law enforcement. As well, there have been lower rates of hospitalization.
In total, it said the proposed investment saves the city about $388,800 annually in other costs.
Staff said there is a lack of supportive housing in the city, and that the city could play a role in improving the well being of people.
“The effects of COVID-19 have increased the urgency of the need to provide stable and safe housing options for individuals experiencing homelessness, with reports of improved personal outcomes emerging across the country where municipalities have quickly implemented supportive housing models,” the report said.