Courtenay council

Coalition tries to deal with homeless encampments

The Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness is appealing to the City of Courtenay for funds to increase its co-ordinator position to full-time. The idea is to enable a co-ordinated community response to homeless encampments that are cropping up and causing challenges for police and City staff.

Coalition member Heather Ney figures the collective would need about $35,000 a year.

“We don’t have a real co-ordinated community response in the Comox Valley, and there is nowhere for people who are homeless to go during the day,” Ney said Monday at Courtenay council.

The coalition has been running a drop-in pilot program called Connect, designed for homeless individuals and those at risk, Wednesdays and Sundays from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Courtenay library.

“This is where the coalition has been a bit of a prototype to inform what we hope to build, which would be a permanent drop-in centre for the Comox Valley,” coalition co-ordinator Andrea Cupelli said.

FMI: cvhousing.ca

•The Wachiay Friendship Centre is hoping to create a day care and family development centre at McPhee and 17th Street. Council has approved second reading of a rezoning to allow the facilities.

“We will be starting our day care staff at $25 per hour,” Michael Colclough, executive director of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society, said at a public hearing. “That’s unheard of in the industry. They will be earning a decent living.”

Just one person expressed concern about parking in the area.

The Beaufort Children’s Centre, noting long waitlists for child care, supports Wachiay’s proposal.

“Wachiay Friendship Centre has a well-established history of providing essential services to a wide spectrum of the population,” said Beaufort executive director Marc Lalonde, a member of the Child Care Planning Committee of the CV Early Years Collaborative. “They have also demonstrated their proficiency in reaching out to the broader community to provide an Aboriginal perspective.”

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