As I sit in my warm house in front of the fire looking out at the driving rain and wind thinking of those in our community who have no home I am compelled to write this letter. This is why I voted YES in the homelessness referendum – not because I consider myself a “do-gooder”; not because I think providing housing is a municipal responsibility; not because I agree with the laws about who could vote but because I believe everyone deserves a home.
We need a collective and collaborative response to homelessness. Yes, all levels of government, non-profit organizations, businesses and individuals need to contribute. The CVRD Homelessness Supports Service is one small but very important part of the solution. Other contributions we have seen in the last year are the provincial government acquiring the Washington Inn and the City of Courtenay moving the Braidwood Project forward. As momentum grows so does participation – we are all responsible for creating a community where everyone has shelter.
I encourage the CVRD board to move forward with the Homelessness Support Services150 By-Law on Dec. 15. Providing $6 per year from my property taxes to help provide six units of transitional housing to people who are homeless might be the best money I will ever spend. I hope next winter there will be less among us living outside braving the elements.