Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Québec has some questions about our homelessness partnering strategy, questions that show she does not fully understand the policy that we are implementing. She has asked why we are not going with approaches that work. That is precisely what we are doing.
We have made housing first the cornerstone of our homelessness partnering strategy because it does work. Housing first is a proven, evidence-based approach. Housing first aims to stabilize the lives of homeless people for the long term, first by moving them into permanent housing and then by providing them additional support for the underlying problems like addiction and mental illness.
Last year, the Mental Health Commission of Canada released the results of the largest study of its kind, the At Home/Chez Soi project. The study found strong evidence that the housing first approach was effective in reducing chronic homelessness, while alleviating the pressure on other shelter, health and judicial services. Our former approach to homelessness was not reducing the size of the homelessness population. It was time for us to try something new, so we did.
The hon. member also asks why we are imposing this one-size-fits-all solution, but this is hardly the case. The homelessness partnering strategy, or HPS, allows communities to assess their own needs and develop projects to meet those needs. The federal government entrusts a community body, often a municipal government, with the responsibility of selecting and managing HPS projects within its own area. All requests for funding must go through that body.
In Quebec, the homelessness partnering strategy is delivered in partnership with the Quebec government and community partners that are responsible for identifying priorities, launching calls for proposal and selecting projects to recommend for HPS funding.
Local organizations know best when it comes to deciding which projects will best serve the needs of their own communities. That is why we have given them the authority to make their own spending decisions. Local organizations retain the flexibility to invest in other approaches to reduce homelessness at a local level, such as shelters or transitional housing. It means they may continue to dedicate a portion of their funding to non-housing first projects just as they did before.
Housing first is being introduced gradually across the country over the next two years. It is true that a focus on that new approach will be a shift for some communities, but it is an approach that works.