Council approves enhanced programming to get panhandlers off the street

Enhanced housing and support services to get panhandlers off the street were approved by Council. Building on the successful Streets to Homes program, the enhanced services will take a housing first approach, getting panhandlers into housing while providing support services that will help them remain permanently housed. The program will extend beyond panhandlers to others living on the street. Additional community workers will be hired and will be visible on the streets providing counseling, referrals, case management and assistance in finding and keeping permanent housing. A central phone number will be established so that anyone across the city can trigger a response for those who need help. Additional mental health, addiction and employment supports are also being established. The enhanced service is supported by the business community, and will cost about $2.6 million in 2008.