In my view, if you feel people are being wronged, it takes courage to stand up and try to make it right.
You can either take the easy path, or make difficult decisions that create a difference in our society.
I feel leaders must embrace communication with the people they represent, sharing your vision, ideas and plans, leads to an informed and engaged public. Failing to do so often results in serious pushback.
Anyone who believes homelessness or people at risk of being homeless is a situation isolated to Courtenay, needs a serious wakeup call and a more open mind. The factors that create these risks effect the entire Comox Valley.
A lack of meaningful jobs, the rising costs of housing, a very low vacancy rate, the closing of mental health and addiction facilities provincewide are affecting our whole region. The reason people in need of shelter or food gather in Courtenay is obvious.
We open our arms and hearts to help people. Courtenay hosts mental health and addiction services, food banks, and shelters already.
I did not see an option of an emergency shelter opening in downtown Comox or a food bank in Jim Gillis’s area B.
Please take some pressure off Courtenay. Step up and embrace these facilities in your areas.
Local governments do not have the resources to properly address the expensive and complex issues of homelessness and at risk of homeless populations of our communities.
Having said that, I feel it is important the regional district take a lead role in setting a strategy in finding long-term solutions for people at risk of being homeless in the Comox Valley.
I believe a real solution is to ask BC housing to invest funds for some form of subsidized housing units with supportive services being offered if required. This can provide stable, dignified living for people in need.
I feel this concept is less costly than an emergency shelter and addresses the bigger picture of keeping people off the streets permanently.
The flow of taxpayers’ dough is limited. We must ensure we receive maximum impact from the BC Housing dollars we lobby for.
Editor’s note: Manno Theos is a member of Courtenay council.