The question on affordable housing/homeless funding will be put forward to some voters in the Comox Valley, in a referendum at a cost of $50,000. There is no guarantee it will pass, after years of debate and lack of clarity on the issues.
Homelessness is a complex issue, but there is another option to the affordable housing issue, which all CVRD directors and municipal councillors could support.
Rather than create another tax and service, the affordable housing initiative could be funded by the CVRD planning budget, which has about $1 million in funding, in excess of salaries and benefits. “Affordable housing” could readily be another service, like “house numbering.” The planning department has competent, professional staff to oversee the affordable housing service and they already have the cash in the budget to make real things happen, by redirecting $1 million/year from administration into housing.
The CVRD administration already has the support services in place, paid for. There would be no additional cost – just a big shift in priorities.
All it would take is a motion from one CVRD director to make this change happen. There would be unanimous support by CVRD directors; unanimous support from all local governments and residents.
Real change. Change in priorities, without new taxes – new taxes that land on low income people the most.