Market housing has been found for 41 homeless men and women since the Riverside Road temporary shelter began operating nearly six months ago.
Shayne Williams, the executive director of the Lookout Emergency Aid Society, which operates the shelter, said 40 men and women have been moved into homes, while eight have found placements in substance treatment.
And while service providers have consistently voiced concerns about the ability for formerly homeless people to avoid eviction, so far the majority of those housed are still off the streets.
Williams said that his organization can verify 29 of those placed in market housing are still housed. As for the rest, he said it’s difficult to remain connected with previous clients after they have moved because Lookout does not have outreach workers in the city.
Of those who have gone for addictions treatment, only one has returned to the shelter, he said.
The shelter remains full to capacity and will continue operating until the completion of the Gladys Avenue supportive housing project.
A recent meeting of the Abbotsford Homelessness Action Advisory Committee heard that there is still a substantial shortage of housing in the city.
A report to the committee said: “The immediate need for an increase in adequate and attainable permanent housing options persists, as well as the provision of housing retention services to support individuals to access, transition into and sustain housing in the Abbotsford community.”
Meanwhile, council got a first look recently at a “road map strategy,” that aims to set out the steps needed to better address homelessness in Abbotsford.
The complex document suggests that a variety of interlocking goals – including increasing housing, providing wraparound services and outreach, and integrating homeless men and women into the community – must be achieved if the city hopes to help decrease the number of residents who can’t find housing.