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

Courtenay Little Theatre’s production of Hedda Gabler opens April 5

Catherine Hannon Special to The Record As the director of Courtenay Little… Continue reading

Comox overdose awareness display blessed by the Pope

Judith Conway created the display in honour of her son and others who have died of overdoses

Six orcas seen off Point Holmes Saturday

A pod of orcas treated many onlookers to a show Saturday evening.… Continue reading

Fire breaks out at Courtenay hostel

Police arrest man who could be associated with rash of fires

BREAKING: Large structure fire at downtown Courtenay hostel

A fire in downtown Courtenay has engulfed the Cona Hostel at the… Continue reading

Mueller finds no Trump collusion, leaves obstruction open

But while Mueller fully ruled out criminal collusion, he was more circumspect on presidential obstruction of justice

Woman wants Tofino to get a nude beach

“They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

New Coast Guard ship crashes into breakwater in Victoria

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

Ice climbers scale Canada’s tallest waterfall on Vancouver Island

Ice climbers Chris Jensen, Will Gadd and Peter Hoang made history

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

B.C. doctor reprimanded for accessing medical records without consent

Doctor admits to accessing records of the woman carrying his child

Video service to compete with Netflix, Amazon expected from Apple on Monday

The iPhone has long been Apple’s marquee product and main money maker, but sales are starting to decline

Kootenay city councillor starts nationwide climate caucus for municipal politicians

Climate Leadership Caucus has 57 members including seven mayors

Most Read