More than 200 people made their way through downtown streets Saturday during the coldest Night of the Year

More than 200 people made their way through downtown streets Saturday during the coldest Night of the Year

Coldest Night of the Year walkers raise $17,000 in Victoria

Money will be used to help the Capital Region's needy

More than 200 people walked the streets of downtown Victoria on Saturday for the Coldest Night of the Year, a fundraising event to help raise awareness about poverty and homelessness.

While the second annual event raised $17,000, organizers say there is still work to be done in combatting homelessness in the region.

“Unfortunately, the numbers seem to have been going in the wrong direction for some time,” said Colin Tessier, executive director of the Mustard Seed, which sponsored this year’s event.

Tessier estimates that users of the Mustard Seed food bank has increased more than 100 per cent since 2008. The street church helps feed about 7,000 people a month.

Last February, the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness did a facility count to see how many people were using shelters, motels and other locations as a means of housing. It counted 1,167 individuals on one night: 962 adults, 89 youth and 105 children. On same night, 78 people had to be turned away due to lack of space, including 11 children.

“Much work has been done, but we all know much more work needs to be done,” said Victoria city councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe, who participated in this year’s walk.

“We need more affordable housing throughout the region. We also need a national housing strategy. We need more support for those who have addictions, and we need jobs that pay sufficiently so [people] are able to make end’s meet.”

Tessier said funds from this year’s walk will go toward programs that help break the cycle of poverty and drug addiction, such as the Mustard Seed’s Hope Farm Healing Centre in Duncan and its family education centre located in Victoria.

And while poverty is increasing throughout the region, Tessier points out there’s hopeful signs.

“People are breaking out of poverty on a daily basis at the Mustard Seed,” he said. “It takes an investment of time and sometimes that’s all that’s needed, and people can get back on their feet. There is hope.”

The Coldest Night of the Year walks happened nationwide from Victoria to St. John’s, N.L. in 80 communities.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are asking for help locating Izabel Villeneuve, 14, who was last seen Jan. 19. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police seek help locating missing 14-year-old

Izabel Villeneuve was last seen in the morning of Jan. 19

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria says sale of the planned subdivision will increase the club’s ability to provide services and support. (Courtesy of Association for the Protection of Rural Metchosin)
Victoria Boys and Girls Club says youth would benefit from Metchosin land sale

Club says sale will guarantee supports and programs at time when demand high

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us – maybe

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Vancouver Island this weekend

Snow on Malahat to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Most Read