Group urges CVRD for action on homelessness

  • Jan. 28, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record Staff

If a question on the ballot at the municipal election is any indication, then it appears the Comox Valley cares about the homeless.

In a non-binding question at the Nov. 15 election, voters were asked how much annual property tax they would be willing to pay to reduce homelessness. They were given three options: nothing, up to $5 or up to $10 for a home assessed at $300,000. The latter garnered the most votes.

“Obviously they want to see some change in this area,” Shanyn Simcoe said in a Tuesday presentation to the regional district board.

More than 10,000 voters supported the $5 or $10 option, she noted.

“These are very encouraging results.”

Simcoe is an RN and a member of the Association of Registered Nurses of B.C. — Comox Valley Network. The group is asking the CVRD to implement a tax to reduce homelessness in the Valley.

The association suggests homelessness is a shared responsibility between all levels of government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), health professionals and the public.

Studies estimate costs to provide services for one homeless person are about $55,000 per year.

“The long-term solution is supportive housing,” association member Helen Boyd said. “We know improved housing leads to improved health.”

Such housing, she notes, differs from affordable or transitional housing in the sense that individuals are living at a secure place where on-site staff can engage them to address their issues.

“Obviously there’s a great need for supportive housing in the Comox Valley,” Area C director Edwin Grieve said.

He suggests the district come up with a rough figure that would be generated on an annual basis by a $5 or $10 tax.

The association recommends the following:

•Implement a housing tax;

•Proceed with the Braidwood property in Courtenay as a supportive housing initiative as quickly as possible;

•Establish a shared contingency fund or homelessness trust fund;

•Develop a five-year plan to end homelessness;

•Include homelessness and housing as standing items on CVRD, Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland council agendas.

There are an estimated 300 people in the Valley who are homeless. A further 3,000 individuals are considered to be at risk.

For more information about the Comox Valley Cares initiative, visit www.comoxvalleycares.com.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Just Posted

Annual labyrinth walk welcomes the festive celebration of lights season

Take a break from the commercial activity of the holiday season and… Continue reading

Strong winds to hit B.C.’s south coast

Western regions may see winds of up to 80 km/hr

Courtenay family looking for help after baby born two months premature

A GoFundMe page has been set up as a difficult pregnancy and a long stay in Victoria have left the family struggling to get by

Land & Sea Brewing Company opens its doors in Comox

Managing director says the brewery will be a compliment to the Valley’s craft beer scene

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Wicked weather, including heavy snow, rainfall, hammers southern B.C.

Environment Canada has posted winter storm warnings for the Coquihalla Highway, Highway 3

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

Retailers feel the squeeze of their generous return policies

Technology data tracking can clamp down on fraudulent abuse

Canadians to get low-cost data-only mobile phone plans within 90 days: CRTC

Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide plans as cheap as 250MB for $15

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Stricter drunk driving laws to take effect across Canada today

It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop

The prize was wrong: Man turns down trip to Manitoba

A New Hampshire man won the prize on “The Price is Right”, but turned it down because the taxes were too high

Most Read