Victoria, BC – Victoria’s Housing Action Response Team (HART) has been honoured with a regional B.C. Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Award for their work in creating a comprehensive, citizen-centred outreach model to help house people staying in parks, encampments, in cars and on the street. VicPD Community Resource Officer Sean Hand was nominated as a member of the HART. The team was nominated in the organizational excellence category.
HART is based on a Seattle model and was piloted by B.C. Housing in Victoria in 2017 following a large and complex homeless encampment on the Victoria Provincial Courthouse lawn. HART brings together government, health, police, bylaw enforcement staff and social service agencies in one team to provide supports and information to people experiencing public homelessness. The team does ‘on the spot’ housing assessments, social assistance applications and provides other community supports. HART partners include B.C. Housing, City of Victoria Bylaw Enforcement Services, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Pacifica Housing, Island Health and many others.
“The Housing Action Response Team is an innovative, integrated, citizen-centred, partnership-based approach to ensuring that those most at risk in our community are able to be met where they are to be helped and supported,” Chief Del Manak said. “I’m proud of Cst. Sean Hand, and proud of the work that both our team and the wider HART are doing to help end homelessness. This award is well-earned.”
For 15 years the regional B.C. Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Awards have recognized excellence on the part of public servants across the province. HART was one of over 90 projects nominated this year.