Sam Franey

Comox Valley man forms non-profit after five years on street

Sam Franey has steered clear of pills and booze, choosing instead to focus his attention on helping others in their recovery process.

The 36-year-old Comox Valley man has started a non-profit society called Comox Valley Unhoused, a project residency operating out of the Comox Valley Art Gallery in downtown Courtenay. He’s also a peer support worker on a CVAG project dubbed Walk With Me, which explores the overdose crisis.

“It’s kind of amazing,” Franey said. “I moved here last year, and I was still on the streets and still addicted to drugs, and had nothing to come here with. In a year, I’ve got myself clean, I’m housed, I’ve got a non-profit…It comes from five years on the streets.”

READ: Life on street inspires Comox man to help others without homes

The purpose of Comox Valley Unhoused is to educate, and to house and rehabilitate people on the streets, and people with mental health and addiction issues. It also aims to house low-income seniors, and anyone at risk of losing their house.

The program is still in the conceptual stage. Eventually, Franey hopes to create a tiny home community.

“It’s created by people on the streets, and what would work for us and what won’t, and how best to empower us, to create a different life — to work hard and create a positive life for ourselves,” Franey said. “You build a program specifically for a person and their needs, and as they go through the program, they plan out and build their own tiny house. They stay on as a group, and build more for low-income seniors and others.

“When the program is done, you offer them a spot in a tiny house community on the same property where they all live together, and support one another and still have access to the same help they had in the program,” Franey added.

Along with housing, the program provides support in terms of post-secondary education, growing food and cooking healthy meals — among other positive directions people choose to steer their life.

Franey is the executive director of CV Unhoused, which has a board of directors. Sharon Karsten, the gallery’s director of research and community development, is a board member.

“Too many people underestimate the importance of housing in harm reduction,” Karsten said. “The Unhoused society uncovers this potential, and empowers people through community solidarity to create ownership over their own homes — and their own futures.”

For more information about Comox Valley Unhoused, contact Franey at or 250-863-7157.

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

Just Posted

The development permit application is for the back of a property at 2522 Dunsmuir Ave. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Privacy, heritage reasons for secondary house denial in Cumberland

Majority of council wants to see something more in line with Camp Road’s character

Local governments such as Cumberland’s are calling for Ottawa to treat opioids as a public health crisis. (Black Press file photo)
Cumberland councillor motivated by family member’s drug death

Council supports resolution for Ottawa to treat narcotics as public health emergency

Comox Valley Nature hosts an online lecture Sunday, April 18, to address the human and scientific perspective on climate change. Photo supplied
Upcoming Comox Valley Nature webinar addresses climate change

Comox Valley Nature hosts an online lecture Sunday, April 18, when Dr.… Continue reading

30 years after becoming part of the YANA family, Angela Furlotte is all grown up and enjoys her three dogs while working and living in the Comox Valley.
YANA founder helps family in need: a historical account

Andrea Postal Special to The Record The first few months of Angela… Continue reading

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

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

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

An AAP will be used to determine if rural residents in the CVRD want a roadside garbage/recycling collection service. File photo
Roadside waste collection proposed in rural areas of Comox Valley

Pending results of the upcoming Alternate Approval Process (AAP), a rural roadside… Continue reading

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Most Read