The Connect Warming Centre is a Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness initiative that operates in Courtenay. File photo

The Connect Warming Centre is a Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness initiative that operates in Courtenay. File photo

Assessment underlines need for non-market housing in Comox Valley

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.

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