A small group called the Morning Crew is ‘sweeping’ the streets of downtown Courtenay – an initiative started by the Comox Valley Transition Society and is encouraged by local businesses.
Heather Ney, CVTS executive director said the crew is organized by Deb Prain, the homelessness outreach co-ordinator for individuals residing at the Travelodge Courtenay.
The crew, which began in January, sweeps the streets of downtown picking up garbage, needles, drug paraphernalia and helping those who are unhoused seven days a week from 7 to 9 a.m.
“They have received so many positive comments from businesses, police and bylaw officers. Downtown has noticed and it’s mutually beneficial,” noted Ney.
The CVTS pays each member $20/hr, and each person is required to sign an agreement/job description. Ney added the Morning Crew is a pilot project but said as long as it continues to work, the society will endeavour to find a way to keep it going.
“Everyone who joined was so excited because they want to give back. There’s so much judgment and stigma around the Travelodge, they want the community to know they aren’t all bad,” noted Prain. “They’ve been there and they want to pay it forward.”
Morning Crew member Sunshine, who has lived on the streets for about a year, said giving back to the community is the reason why she decided to join and works six days a week picking up garbage, talking with people who live in tents and providing resources for services.
“We also hand out juice and granola and snacks, and it’s like we’re Santa Claus. I’ve talked with police, bylaw officers and business owners, and it’s all been super positive. We talk to people daily who said they’ve noticed a huge change (in the area).”
As part of the safety and security committee of the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association, Ney reports on the crew’s activities; she noted the crew keeps a log of the number of needles, garbage bags collected as well as how many people needed assistance.
For more information or to donate to the program, visit cvts.ca.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter