The Comox Valley Regional District established a Homelessness Supports Service (HSS) in 2015 to channel funds to non-profits to address homelessness throughout the region. Since then, the service has enabled the construction of 78 housing units.
“The pandemic has shone a light on the acute need for safe and affordable housing,” Alana Mullaly, senior manager of sustainability and Regional Growth Strategy, said at the Feb. 9 CVRD board meeting.
The proposed 2021 tax requisition for the service is $245,000. The impact to residents would be about $7.60 for a home assessed at $500,000.
Andrea Cupelli, co-ordinator of the CV Coalition to End Homelessness, said the HSS funds are making a significant impact in the community.
In a presentation, she said the CVRD’s 2020 Housing Needs Assessment underlines the need for non-market housing. The study found a severe lack of available studios in the Comox Valley, and a disparity between homeowners and renters.
The board approved the following projects recommended for 2021, to be funded by the HSS:
•$100,000 towards Gwax’dzi dsas: Tall Tree Place — 22 modular units for families in Cumberland (Dawn to Dawn);
•$70,000 towards 24-40 studio and one-bedroom units for Indigenous Elders in Courtenay (Wachiay Friendship Centre);
•$30,000 towards construction of a townhouse on Piercy Avenue in Courtenay (Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North); and
•$35,000 to support the coalition co-ordinator position ($30,000), and to provide honoraria ($5,000) to individuals with lived/ living experience to participate in the service.