The provincial government and the City of Courtenay are partnering to build new modular housing, in an effort to address the need for supportive housing in the Comox Valley.
Forty-six homes are proposed to be built on City-owned land at 988 – 8th St., which will require a zoning amendment. Pending municipal approvals, construction is anticipated to begin this summer, in order to have the homes ready for winter. Each home will include a private bathroom and kitchen. Residents will have access to shared amenities, such as laundry, as well as 24/7 support services, including meal programs, and employment and life-skills training.
“We know there is a critical need for supportive housing in the Comox Valley. This facility would help people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, access services and support systems in a stable, safe, supervised environment,” Mayor Larry Jangula said. “We look forward to working with BC Housing, local homeless support agencies and the community as this process moves forward.”
The John Howard Society of North Island has been selected to operate the housing and provide support services for residents.
“As is the case in communities across B.C., there is a lack of safe and affordable housing in the Comox Valley,” John Howard’s executive director Wendy Richardson said. “These homes will bring approximately 46 people in off the streets, and provide them with nutritious meals, as well as health and social supports tailored to their needs.”
“This announcement is wonderful news,” added Richard Clarke, president of the Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society. “We are very pleased that the City of Courtenay, BC Housing and the John Howard Society will be able to ensure some of our most vulnerable citizens will have a safe and supportive place to call home.”
For several months, the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness has been advocating for supportive housing.
“The coalition would like to thank all those involved for their hard work, perseverance, collaboration and dedication to ensure that 46 of our community’s most vulnerable people will be housed safely, with access to 24/7 health and social supports,” co-ordinator Andrea Cupelli said.
Over a period of 24 hours during a Point in Time Count on March 7, the coalition surveyed 198 people in the Valley who were experiencing homelessness or who were at-risk of homelessness. The count — which represents a ‘snapshot’ of the minimum number homeless individuals in the Valley — was part of a co-ordinated effort to measure homelessness across Canada.
“I’m thrilled the City and our government are partnering to build this much-needed housing,” Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard said. “The modular housing will get people off the streets and into a safe and secure home, where they’ll be connected to the wellness and employment services they need.”
The community is invited to attend a public hearing for the project at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 22 in council chambers at City Hall. Questions or comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
–With files from the Government of BC