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VIHA funds to Dawn to Dawn to help marginalized people in Comox Valley

A $174,000 contribution from the Comox Valley Regional District will help the Dawn to Dawn: Action on Homelessness Society develop a scattered housing program to assist those on the fringes of society.

The idea is to provide housing in apartments scattered throughout a community to foster a sense of home and to expedite a person's reintegration into the community.

The society proposes to house 18 individuals for 18 months, Dawn to Dawn president Richard Clarke said Tuesday at committee of the whole.

He said there are sufficient apartments to carry out the plan, though Clarke notes a lack of affordable housing in the Valley.

"There's a much bigger need out there that's not being met," he said.

Over the course of five years, the society has housed more than 50 people since the inception of its residential program — in keeping with the Housing First concept of providing homeless people with housing and then providing additional services as needed.

Clarke cited the Community Garden in Courtenay and the street soccer program as examples of Dawn to Dawn services. The society also operates an RV program that is housing street people, mostly at the Maple Pool Campsite and RV Park.

"It's encouraging to see the groundswell of support in the community," Clarke said.

The $174,000 comes from a one-time $300,000 grant from the Vancouver Island Health Authority to address homeless issues and to build healthy communities in the Valley.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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