Care-A-Van catches those falling between the cracks

Organization has assisted over 850 distinct individuals in the Comox Valley in its first five years

The Care-A-Van turned five years old in 2014.

The Care-A-Van turned five years old in 2014.

Are you thinking of your end of the year donation to a good cause?

Why not give locally to the Care-A-Van of the Comox Bay Care Society. For over five years, this grassroots organization has assisted over 850 distinct individuals in the Comox Valley via its mobile health-care clinic. The primary goal of the Care-A-Van is the prevention and early intervention of homelessness.

We know there is a pressing need for people to be housed and a lack of available places. It was at this time last year, only a few weeks before Christmas that a 66-year-old man came to the van seeking help because he was at risk of eviction and of being homeless.

Due to his state of malnutrition and pressing mental health issues, he was overwhelmed by the process of completing necessary forms for his Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. In no time, the Care-A-Van health-care volunteers provided him with the basics: a bed to sleep on as he slept on the floor of his apartment, a telephone hook-up, and a cane to ambulate as he had suffered a stroke some years ago.

A family physician of the Care-A-Van agreed to take on his care and with the appropriate referrals much needed services were soon provided.

This man is a key example of someone who is housed but lacking the support services to keep him housed. The formula for many individuals who seek the help of the mobile clinic is supportive housing.

Eventually, with assistance this man was relocated to Victoria where such supports exist in greater numbers that in the Comox Valley. He would have been homeless by Dec. 31 had the Care-A-Van not been there to keep him from falling between the cracks.

The yearly cost of running this project is of only $42,000 per year.

The program is solely funded by donations from the Comox Valley community. It does not receive any provincial, nor federal funding.

In the winter months, it is not unusual for a volunteer driver to be offering a pair of boots, socks and toques to the those who are homeless preventing them from getting sick. However, it is the relationship building offered by the 34 volunteers; be they nurses, doctors, pharmacists, dentists, optometrist, drivers that instil hope that change is possible at a time when they are lonely, discouraged and at times feeling  abandoned.

“I was down and out, using drugs and alcohol, and feeling very alone,” said Tyler Steinhorson, a past client of the van. “I noticed the Care-A-Van in the back parking lot one day and decided to see why others were going there. I’m so glad that I did! They were so caring, and great to talk to. I really felt they cared about helping people like me and I looked forward to seeing them each week. I’m happy to say that I’ve been clean and sober for over one year now! My goal is to give back to those special people who made my darkest days bright. Thank you Care-A-Van.”

The volunteers of the Care-A-Van will be out this Christmas eve and New Year’s eve, making sure that the homeless population knows that we are a caring community. To learn more about the work of the Care-A-Van and to donate please visit and our Facebook page.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is hoping to see more bike lines in the Cumberland area. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cycling coalition wants better bike links for Cumberland

Group says members want more connections with Comox Valley

The Courtenay Legion has identified 16 homeless veterans living in the Comox Valley. File photo
Courtenay Legion unites with Qualicum to help homeless veterans

Last year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count conducted in the Comox Valley identified… Continue reading

Proceeds from the sale of this 36x18” image of a grizzly bear in the water, by local photographer Viktor Davare, will go to the Salvation Army. Photo supplied.
Comox Valley Photographic Society showcased at next Pearl Ellis exhibit

Exhibit to double as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army

Shelter Point Distillery won several Canadian Whisky Awards this year, including a gold for best single malt. Facebook photo
Vancouver Island’s Shelter Point Distillery wins gold for single malt

Business won nine medals at recent Canadian Whisky Awards virtual ceremony

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria both have a MySafe machine to help reduce overdoses

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read