EDITORIAL: Housing fix a long way off

Progress being made, but much work still to be done

On a cold night in February of this year, a team of volunteers, housing advocates and university students spread out across Greater Victoria to find out how many people were accessing shelters and other forms of temporary housing.

What they found wasn’t much different from a similar count in 2011, according to Andrew Wynn-Williams, executive director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness: 1,167 people, including 116 children, were sleeping on cots and thin mattresses in local shelters or in motels throughout the region.

“The number of families counted increases when hotels and motels are included in the facility count,” says the count’s lead researcher, Marika Albert. “For me, this means that hotels and motels are often seen as the only affordable option for families experiencing homelessness, which is deplorable and an important indication that we are far from addressing the affordable housing crisis in the region.”

Many families in housing crisis can face a steep climb when they lack family support. There are a total of two shelter units available to families on a short-term basis in the entire CRD at Rock Bay Landing. And the Burnside-Gorge Community Association offers the region’s only in-person family housing assistance program.

Most of the 264 families they helped last year were on the cusp of losing their homes, while one in 10 were outright homeless. Some people end up in local motels and hear little from B.C. Housing.

The region hasn’t been idle. Since 2008, there have been 274 supportive housing units and 350 affordable housing units built.

But it’s clear families aren’t able to access services and stable housing with anything close to a timely manner.

The Coalition recommends implementing “rapid rehousing initiatives” to help in crisis situations, a move that should garner support across all levels of government. It’s also time the federal government stepped up and created a fully funded national housing strategy to play its part in the housing fix.

Otherwise, families will continue to be left out on the cold.

Just Posted

Pacific FC looks for first win of the fall season in Toronto Wednesday

The Island team is currently 0-2-0 this season

Periods of rain in Wednesday’s forecast

Plus a look ahead at your weekend forecast

Welcome to Victoria, where a street can have four names

From Oak Bay to View Royal, street names change as the roadways twist and turn

Garbage piles up at Mount Doug Park in Saanich

Local resident blames the design of the garbage bins

VIDEO: Black bear caught climbing tree in Langford neighbourhood

Triangle Mountain residents on alert following bear sighting

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Most Read