FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Local governments and modern Treaty Nations in B.C. can apply for grants to support vital local services that address the impacts of homelessness worsened by the pandemic.

The Strengthening Communities’ Services Program aims to help local governments respond to the impacts of homelessness and keep communities safe and healthy, according to a release.

The effects of extreme weather have further strained local homelessness resources and supports that have already been feeling pressure due to the pandemic.

The funding can be used to address the effects of extreme weather for people experiencing homelessness, including connecting with public health officials to support people during extreme weather.

The city of Fort St. John received $446,775 in funding last year, citing an increase in domestic violence, substance use and homelessness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, the program has invested over $76 million of the $100-million fund in 50 community-led projects that provide services such as outreach and mental-health supports and expanding or creating new temporary shelters.

The Strengthening Communities’ Services Program is open to all municipalities, regional districts and modern Treaty Nations in B.C.

The program is administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities on behalf of the Province and applications will be accepted until April 22, 2022, with approvals expected in summer 2022.

For more information on the local projects supported by B.C.’s Strengthening Communities’ Services Program, click here.