Six additional units of transitional housing for the homeless will be built in the Comox Valley by the end of 2016.
On Dec. 15, 2015 the Comox Valley Regional District approved the Homelessness Supports Service Establishment Bylaw following the Nov. 28 referendum.
Since then, the CVRD has been working with the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness to orchestrate the provision of funds to the first two projects identified in the coalition’s five-year plan. On Feb. 16, the CVRD Committee of the Whole adopted a motion for the board to approve the proposed 2016-2020 financial plan for homelessness supports service.
Upon approval of the plan, expected by the board by the end of this month, the Comox Valley Transition Society and the Comox Valley Recovery Centre will receive the new tax dollars to build the housing units.
Space to be redeveloped
Unoccupied space at the Comox Valley Transition Society’s Amethyst House will be redeveloped into two independent transitional housing units for women. Four units of modular housing will be built on the property of the Comox Valley Recovery Centre for men.
The potential residents of the six units would not be using substances. They would be working, attending school or volunteering while accessing community supports that will lead them to living independently. Maximum stay for each of the units is two years.
Recovery could mean homelessness
Relationships between substance use, recovery and homelessness are complex.
Recovery from addiction is difficult for anyone, but many individuals in residential recovery programs can also face the loss of their housing whilst in recovery. This is due to the financial burden of maintaining both, or the loss of provincial housing benefits while in recovery. Individuals successfully completing addiction treatment are often discharged into homelessness due to the lack of available rental and affordable housing in the Comox Valley. Transitional housing programs help homeless people simultaneously treat their addictions and regain residential stability.
While anticipated funding from the CVRD ($165,000 in 2016) will cover a large portion of the costs of building these units, the coalition has been advocating at federal and provincial levels that government agencies develop a strategy to contribute to local efforts. Individuals or organizations wishing to contribute to the Homelessness Supports Service may do so via the CVRD, and will receive a tax receipt for their contributions.
To see other projects in the Five-Year Plan, visit www.cvhousing.ca.