EDITORIAL: Tent city highlights housing issue in Greater Victoria, West Shore

As crews cleaned up what remained of Victoria's tent city, it's timely to look at what's needed for future housing affordability.

Crews were busy on Monday cleaning up what remained of Victoria’s notorious tent city as the court ordered deadline for residents to vacate finally arrived.

While at the time of this writing a few stragglers still remained, many of whom have been vocal about their right to sleep in a tent on public land, that option is no longer legally available to them at that location. As many of these residents transition into new housing, the conversation brought on by the homeless encampment is also changing.

Many are warning that another tent city could spring up in any jurisdiction within the Capital Regional District, as residents continue to struggle to find housing options that suit their needs. While a lot has been done to address this, more still needs to be done. At the very least the creation of more housing options across the region, including the temporary Choices Transitional Home in View Royal, has been a sign of good faith from a government that hasn’t historically leaned towards these types of programs. It is left to be seen whether this is a genuine shift or a ploy to persuade voters leading up to an election year.

Creating more spaces may not be the permanent solution many are hoping for. It is, however, a step in the right direction. But it’s not just the residents of tent city that are in need of more low cost housing options. Many residents on the West Shore and across the region are struggling to find accommodations that fit within their monthly budgets.

We’re not saying everyone should be entitled to a government hand-up when it comes to making ends meet. But as Victoria’s housing market continues to heat up, the region’s limited number of low cost housing units is put under an even greater strain to meet demand.

We hope that all municipalities in our region, especially those on the West Shore, continue to look at expanding their housing programs to include more rental options as well as new builds that offer below market cost accommodations for those trying to make it on their own, but need a little boost.

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