The Junction at 988 Eighth St. in Courtenay. File photo

The Junction at 988 Eighth St. in Courtenay. File photo

EDITORIAL: Comox Valley needs another supportive housing complex

It appears the dust has settled since The Junction supportive housing complex opened in Courtenay in the spring of 2019.

The project was initially met with a great deal of opposition, largely from residents at the Kiwanis Village for seniors, kitty corner to the building at 988 8th St. Opponents said the location was a poor choice, considering an emergency homeless shelter and a recovery centre are located less than a block away. After it opened, they complained about increased noise, loitering, littering and drug dealing.

In time, Junction staff moved the bike lock and smoking area to the rear of the 46-unit building, which seems to have alleviated some of the problems associated with people gathering out front.

Judging by a recent visit to The Junction, the neighbourhood is just another quiet section of the Comox Valley, at least in the afternoon. Evenings are no doubt a little different, considering the railroad tracks and amount of brush next to the facility. Dark spots can attract dark dealings. But what neighbourhood is ideal? A rural location was out of the question, because Junction tenants need to be close to medical care and other services.

God knows where these individuals previously lived. Some would have been on the street, maybe in a tent, maybe using cardboard for a bed. There’s various reasons a person winds up homeless. Bad luck. Bad choices. Mental illness. Regardless, everyone deserves a roof over their head, and something to eat — basics that fulfil the lowest rung on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The Junction takes it a step or two further, thanks to staff members who work ‘round the clock to keep the premises clean, provide support, and even a bit of fun.

With physiological and safety needs met, Junction tenants can experience the third rung of Maslow’s pyramid — psychological needs: belonging, love, friendships — and even the fourth (esteem needs) and fifth (self-actualization).

A provincial poverty reduction strategy aims to reduce B.C.’s overall poverty rate by 25 per cent, and the child poverty rate by 50 per cent, by 2024. Government intends to do so by increasing the minimum wage, and income and disability assistance rates, and by removing policies to make it easier to access assistance, supports and services.

But it also needs to house people.

Like every other community in B.C., the Comox Valley needs another Junction, where vacant rooms tend to fill up quickly.

Along with food and shelter, The Junction offers support groups, and creative ventures such as book clubs and writing clubs. Once a tenant gets ‘back on their feet,’ he or she can move on to their own housing situation, and possibly return to school or re-enter the workforce. But out on the street, a person doesn’t stand a chance.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Co-ordinator/founder David Clarke, right, is pictured with members of Comox Valley Street Outreach during Monday’s rig dig. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox Valley group aims to stop overdose deaths, reduce stigma

As the overdose crisis worsens throughout B.C., a local advocacy group is… Continue reading

London Drugs now taking COVID-19 bookings. Screenshot, London Drugs
Courtenay London Drugs now taking COVID-19 bookings

A number of locations in Western Canada selected to give vaccine

A wildfire has started near Gold River, and B.C. Wildfire Service crews are on scene. Photo courtesy Coastal Fire Centre
Wildfire burning in remote area near Gold River

Coastal Fire Centre investigating cause, but confirms it is human-caused

Volunteers paint the famous Denman Island Graffiti Fence with messages for Earth Week. Photo by Danni Crenna
Denman Island celebrates Earth Week

The Denman Island Climate Action Network (DICAN) has kicked off Earth Week… Continue reading

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/ screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Most Read