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Government of Canada Helps People With Mental Health Disabilities

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 14, 2009) - People with disabilities will get help preparing for jobs as a result of the Government of Canada's support to Potential Place Society. Mr. Devinder Shory, Member of Parliament for Calgary Northeast, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"Our government is helping those seeking to break free from the cycle of homelessness and poverty," said Mr. Shory. "Through this investment, 20 Canadians with mental health disabilities will gain the skills they need to participate and succeed in the job market and to maximize their potential and independence."

With a federal investment of $240,000 from the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and the Opportunities Fund, Potential Place Society will help 20 people with mental health disabilities who are homeless or at risk of homelessness make a successful transition into the job market, by providing essential job and life skills training, job matching, work experience and long-term support.

"We would like to thank the Government of Canada for its support of this innovative and collaborative project," said Mr. Gordon Young, Executive Director of Potential Place Society. "Moving Forward has the potential to become a model for helping those with mental illnesses to regain self-respect and renew their sense of hope through attaining meaningful work opportunities."

The Opportunities Fund supports activities that increase employability skills, provide work experience and prepare people with disabilities for self-employment. The Government of Canada is breaking down barriers that prevent Canadians from reaching their full potential with a wide range of effective policies, programs and services tailored to people with disabilities.

The Fund is part of the Government of Canada's strategy to create the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. The Government underscored its commitment to this strategy in Canada's Economic Action Plan. A key component of the Plan is to create more and better opportunities for Canadian workers through skills development.

In September 2008, the Government of Canada announced $1.9 billion over five years for housing and homelessness programs for low-income Canadians. This commitment provides the Government with the flexibility to work with the provinces and territories, municipalities and organizations to develop ways to improve the effectiveness of federal spending on housing and homelessness.

This ongoing funding will ensure that the Government can continue to assist those who need support, including homeless people and those at risk of homelessness-low-income Canadians, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.

Canada's Economic Action Plan is building on these investments by making an additional one-time investment of more than $2 billion over two years in new and existing social housing, and by making available up to $2 billion in loans to Canadian municipalities over two years for housing-related infrastructure improvements. To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, please visit www.hrsdc.gc.ca/homelessness.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


BACKGROUNDER

Potential Place Society, formerly known as the Clubhouse Society of Calgary, is a not-for-profit mental health agency that provides opportunities for those with chronic mental illness to lead productive and rewarding lives. Potential Place incorporates the principles and operating practices of a successful international program of mental health rehabilitation referred to as Clubhouse.

Potential Place Clubhouse provides a non-judgmental and supportive environment in which members can develop or regain the social and vocational skills, confidence and self-esteem necessary to become useful and productive members of society. The concepts of participation, personal development and individual empowerment are paramount in Clubhouse rehabilitation.

In 2003, Potential Place Society received accreditation through the International Centre for Clubhouse Development (ICCD), the first and only mental health consultant to the United Nations. Potential Place joined clubhouses in over 355 locations in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Indian Sub-continent. Presently there are over 57,000 active members worldwide.

Certification from the ICCD has enabled Potential Place Society to enhance and expand existing programs offered to anyone experiencing mental illness and at risk of homelessness. It has also positioned Potential Place to offer training services to develop clubhouses elsewhere in Alberta.

Potential Place Society has benefited Calgary in a way that no other mental health rehabilitation program has been able to duplicate. It has shown the mentally ill in this community that they can indeed be productive and return to homes with meaningful and purposeful lives.

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to 61 communities across Canada. The HPS took effect April 1, 2007, with annual funding of $134.8 million for two years, and was extended in 2008 for a further two years until March 31, 2011.

The HPS provides structures and supports that help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless achieve self-sufficiency and full participation in society. This model seeks to address homelessness by working in partnership with the provinces and territories, other federal departments, as well as with communities and the private and not-for-profit sectors. By working with all our partners, we will maximize results to make a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable Canadians. The Homelessness Partnering Strategy provides the support that our community partners are seeking.

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy uses a housing-first approach, recognizing that the first step is to provide individuals with transitional and supportive housing.

The HPS has seven funding streams:

Regionally Delivered:

- Designated Communities

- Outreach Communities

- Aboriginal Communities

Nationally Delivered:

- Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects

- Homelessness Knowledge Development

- Homeless Individuals and Families Information System

- Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative

For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and the seven funding streams, please visit the following Web site: www.hrsdc.gc.ca/homelessness.

The Enhanced Employment Assistance Services component of the Opportunities Fund is designed to help Canadians with disabilities who have little or no work experience, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. The Fund is available to eligible organizations to deliver employment-related programs and services to people with disabilities to support their integration into the workplace.





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