The two empty parcels are located next to the Cumberland Lodge. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Outreach worker pitches supportive housing concept in Cumberland

Grant Shilling presented the idea to the Island Health board of directors last week

Grant Shilling is still fiercely advocating for supportive housing to be implemented in the Comox Valley.

At the Island Health public board meeting on March 29, Shilling presented on behalf of the Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society.

Supportive housing is subsidized housing that provides 24/7 support to residents. It is meant for low-income earners, those suffering from substance addiction, or those requiring mental health support systems.

Shilling, who works as an outreach worker for Dawn to Dawn, pitched an idea at the meeting of converting three vacant parcels of land in Cumberland into supportive housing units.

Island Health owns the three parcels, which are adjacent to the Cumberland Lodge nursing home.

According to Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird, when the Cumberland Hospital Board was dissolved roughly 15 years ago, an agreement stipulated that Island Health’s land had to be used for medical purposes, or be given back to the Village.

“Island Health has always been aware that they need to use that land for medical services,” she said.

“Every year, for the last number of years, I’ve been going to them to ask them what they’re doing with the land.”

Baird says the land used to have houses on it that were rented out, but the homes were eventually demolished due to their age and condition.

Shilling said he’s spoken with developers and BC Housing representatives about the feasibility of developing the vacant land into a supportive housing project.

“We could build 16 units of affordable housing, mainly family-based,” he told the board. “Those 16 units would pay for the rest of the property to satisfy what BC Housing needs. In the meantime, we could build supportive modular housing as an interim plan.”

“There are currently programs that support both things through the new government, and through BC Housing, we have access to that,” he continued.

Currently no supportive housing in the Comox Valley

Shilling has long said there is a critical need for supportive housing in the Comox Valley. He mentioned in his presentation how Nanaimo has 160 supportive housing units, but the Comox Valley still has none.

“We’re the only municipality that I know of on Vancouver Island that does not have any — not one unit of — supportive housing,” he said in a prior interview. “It is absolutely necessary to get supportive housing in the Comox Valley in the next year or two, if not sooner.”

Baird said she has spoken to Leah Hollins — the chair of the Island Health board of directors — since the March 29 meeting and is waiting to hear the health authority’s perspective on Shilling’s idea.

“We are waiting, just like Grant,” she said. “We want to know what they’re going to do with [the land].

“There’s a definite need in the Valley for housing — for supportive housing.”

Just Posted

Draft plan for Union Bay coal hills remediation to be submitted this spring

West Fraser Mills is paying for the installation of an engineered membrane

Crowdfunding page created for family of Comox Valley man killed in Peru

A GoFundMe page has been created for the family of Sebastian Woodroffe,… Continue reading

Comox Valley’s living wage sees four per cent increase from 2017 – report

Advocacy groups say the Valley’s inflation rate was nearly double the provincial average

Peru authorities order arrest of two suspects in Vancouver Island man’s killing

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the… Continue reading

Big Read: locked out of the woods

Vancouver Islanders struggle to balance back country public access with private land protection

VIDEO: Third annual SD71 student inquiry fair celebrates Comox Valley students’ creativity

The creativity of Comox Valley students was on display at School District… Continue reading

Former Social Credit MLA dies at 88

Lyall Hanson was mayor of Vernon in 1981 and moved to provincial politics from 1986-96

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

Police searching for escaped prisoner in B.C.

Ralph Whitfield Morris, 83, is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder

B.C. set to introduce pot laws, but years of fine tuning likely: minister

Legislation regulating recreational marijuana is expected to be introduced Thursday

Arrests made after truck crashes into unmarked police cars in Nanaimo

Two men facing numerous charges after allegedly fleeing scene on the mid-island

Canadian driver uses lawn chair as driver’s seat, gets caught

Ontario police detachment caught the male driver during a traffic stop

B.C. moves to restrict pill presses in opioid battle

Minister Mike Farnworth says federal law doesn’t go far enough

VIDEO: Vets, volunteers set up vaccination station for sick bunnies

Volunteers, vets try to stop spread of lethal virus

Most Read