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

Science fair draws best junior scientists from Vancouver Island to Victoria

200 young science enthusiasts share their inventions and discoveries at UVic

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

Vic. Symphony, Jeans ‘n Classics will rock you with the Best of Queen

Post-Bohemian Rhapsody, Pops Series concerts bring British band’s music back into spotlight

LOCAL FLAVOUR: Farm Whisperer tackles tough subject of farm succession

Linda Geggie is executive director with CR-FAIR

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read