Re: We need homes to solve homelessness situation (Sept. 15 Letter to the Editor)
Thank you, Tracy Ann Smith, for sharing the story about you community’s action to house your homeless community member. He was very fortunate to have you as his neighbours. I feel it important to respond to your closing comment ‘We don’t need homeless services, we have sufficient services, we need homes’ with agreement and to clarify the confusion of the CVRD use of the term “service” in this context.
I am a community mental health and substance use nurse and active member of the Comox Valley Cares campaign. I have followed the outcome of the 2014 non-binding referendum, the Braidwood Supportive Housing project proposal and am currently closely following the CVRD plans for the upcoming homelessness service referendum. Unfortunately, the CVRD use of the term ‘service’ is misleading and therefore requires clarification.
The CVRD uses the term ‘service’ differently that you or I do. The CVRD use of ‘ a service’ should be interpreted more as ‘a function.’ Therefore, the proposed CVRD Homelessness Service is not intended to create more support services but rather to acquire public funds to distribute to local not-for-profit agencies that are in the business of building supportive or affordable housing units. The distribution will be informed by the five-year plan recently presented to the CVRD.
The 2014 non-binding referendum demonstrated that a significant majority of Comox Valley citizens support a tax to reduce homelessness. A successful official referendum in the near future will catalyze the building of homes for those in our community that are experiencing homeless and similar to your example, reduce the frequency of police, ambulance and hospital visits.
Please support the referendum and visit the www.comoxvalleycares.com or www.facebook.com/comoxvalleycares for more on this important local social and health issue.
Shanyn Simcoe BSN, RN