CRD, province take new approach to housing homeless

Thirty-million-dollars in provincial funding will be used to create affordable housing for the population that is most in need.

Thirty-million-dollars in provincial funding will be used to create affordable housing for the population that is most in need, which could include youth, seniors or the chronically homeless, according to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Earlier this week, the provincial government announced a new agreement with the Capital Regional District (CRD) called the Housing First Initiative to create new affordable housing projects for homeless people throughout the region. The province has committed up to $30 million in capital funding, with a matching contribution from the CRD for a total of $60 million.

As part of the agreement, Island Health will also provide mental health and addiction services where supports are required. The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness will be responsible for developing the plan and identifying the population that’s most in need of housing.

“This partnership is an important milestone recognizing the financial and health support services needed to support the goal to sustainably reduce homelessness in the Capital Region by 2018,” said CRD board chair and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins.

Requests for proposals will go out once a year, with the first one going out to the housing sector in October, based on the region’s immediate housing needs, identified by the coalition. Funds will be dispersed once a year for the next five years, so each project will receive roughly $12 million.

According to Helps, who is also the co-chair of the coalition to end homelessness, the initiative changes how the region looks at housing projects.

“Part of what’s happened is housing providers have come forward with projects they have or land’s that’s been made available. They’ve been driving the housing based on what projects they come forward with and that is awesome, don’t get me wrong,” she said. “What we’re doing with this housing first strategy is flipping it on its head, we’re saying what is the need and we’re going to build housing for that need.”

The coalition recently released its Point in Time Count, which identified more than 1,300 people who are experiencing homelessness in the region, roughly 200 of whom are kids under the age of 18.

“That might mean that we need to build some family housing. Will it be all bachelor suites? No. Will it be all three bedroom suites? No. The type of housing will be based on the need determined by the coalition,” Helps said

It will be up to the housing sector to be innovative when it comes to projects to build as many units as possible for the amount of money allocated.

The CRD is also looking to the federal government for another $30 million in funding and Helps is hopeful the government will step up.

“I think there’s a very good chance they will because this is a very innovative approach we’ve taken. It’s probably unprecedented where the whole region comes together and says we’re going to borrow enough to build housing as long as the other players come to the table,” she said.

 

 

 

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

Just Posted

Victoria’s property tax policy for 2021 will save business owners a little money. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria gives businesses a tax break for 2021

Council decreases tax burden to support pandemic-hit merchants

The family of Iris McNeil, shown here with members of her family, has launched a petition to deny parole for the man who murdered McNeil in 1997. (Family photo)
Family fights killer’s release from Metchosin institution

Shortreed serving an indeterminate sentence at William Head Institution

Rendering of the floating market space that is part of one of the two proposals for the Turkey Head and Oak Bay Marina properties. (Courtesy District of Oak Bay)
Oak Bay Marina questionnaire nets hundreds of responses

Mayor Kevin Murdoch impressed by the quality, quantity of input on two proposals

Police are looking for the driver of this truck after it nearly hit a group of kids in Esquimalt on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police)
Victoria police looking for driver of truck that nearly missed kids before crashing in Esquimalt

The truck’s driver, a man, fled the scene after the truck crashed into a house’s fence

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver stopped on Pat Bay Highway after road rage reports fails breathalyzer test: police

Several witnesses reported driver to Saanich police, school officer intercepted

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

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 April 13

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

The District of Sooke will continue to flower with Communities in Bloom. (Pixabay)
Sooke will bud but not bloom in provincial competition

Council scales back participation in Communities in Bloom

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour Pacific Rim highway closures planned in the next 6 weeks

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Bulldogs forward Stephen Castagna flips the puck into the Clippers zone during a game on Oct. 24. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Island BCHL game postponed due to ‘potential positive’ COVID-19 test

Nanaimo Clippers team suspends activities, players isolating pending further test results

Most Read