Efforts made to help homeless

The Comox Valley Regional District purchased three lots in the 800 block of Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay in 2010 for the purpose of housing a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency shelter for the homeless.

  • Dec. 30, 2010 4:00 p.m.

THE REGIONAL DISTRICT purchased three lots in the 800 block of Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay to provide a 24-hour

The Comox Valley Regional District purchased three lots in the 800 block of Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay in 2010 for the purpose of housing a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency shelter for the homeless.

The next step is to find partnerships for constructing and operating the shelter.

While social service agencies consider the purchase a step in the right direction for marginalized populations in the Valley, a number of area businesses are opposed to the location of the proposed facility.

“I think we have to listen to the concerns of businesses in this area,” Courtenay Coun. Larry Jangula said at a regional district board meeting. Jangula, who criticized the proposed location for its proximity to the liquor store on Cliffe Avenue, suggested the area around Chuck’s Trucks at 180 Old Island Hwy. near Canadian Tire would be a better shelter location.

The newly acquired property was a focal point of discussion at the first meeting of the regional district’s housing and homelessness standing committee. Committee member Brent Hobden, community services director at the local branch of the Salvation Army, suggests the property is ideal for shelter, transitional housing and drop-in purposes.

The Comox Valley population includes about 250 “truly homeless people,” based on provincial statistics that estimate 116 to 232 people with addictions and mental illnesses live on the streets. The average age is about 40, with women comprising 53 per cent of the total number. About 18 per cent of the local homeless population is younger than 18.

The Mayor’s Task Force — a predecessor to the standing committee — concluded that if nothing is done, homeless numbers will climb to 900 by 2010, based on a 30-per-cent annual growth rate.

The situation worsens when factoring in some residents at Maple Pool Campsite, who will have to find a new home in the coming weeks.

In early November, the City of Courtenay gave property owners Jin and Da Li Lin until the end of January to comply with city bylaws, meaning permanent residences will no longer be permitted at the Headquarters Road property. The city would allocate up to 23 seasonal campsites.

Council later extended the deadline to the end of July.

The campsite, which backs onto the Tsolum River, flooded twice last year, causing residents to be evacuated.

Several Salvation Army shelter residents use Maple Pool as their home, according to Hobden.

“I know finding accommodation for less-fortunate people in our Valley is extremely difficult,” he said.

The number of guests coming to the Salvation Army shelter has increased 25 per cent from last year, and the organization has seen a 41-per-cent increase in the number of families coming to its Family Services offices looking for support.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Humpback whale plays with a log near Comox Harbour

On Dec. 2, Lifeforce Ocean Friends found a four-year-old humpback named “Lorax”… Continue reading

Seasonal favourite comes to the Sid Williams Theatre

Many of us can remember a favourite Christmas gift - what is… Continue reading

Blue Christmas service in Comox Dec. 15

While jingling bells and festive holiday lights bring great joy to many… Continue reading

Unity Comox Valley hosts serenity service in Comox Thursday

Do you have mixed feelings about the holidays? Unity offers a special… Continue reading

UPDATE: RCMP involved in crash south of Courtenay Saturday night

An RCMP member was involved in a three-vehicle collision on Highway 19… Continue reading

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Valley foodbank fundraiser surpasses goal

Earlier this year, Star Nap and her children stopped by the Comox… Continue reading

Break-in at home of detained Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver on America’s request

Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

Regions could pay up to $68 more

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

It could be an “impeachable offense” if it’s proven that President Donald Trump directed illegal hush-money payments to women during the 2016 campaign.

Most Read