Victoria city council eyes micro-housing for homeless

Lack of adequate housing forcing homeless people to shelter in city parks: report

The City of Victoria is moving forward with plans to address the issue of homelessness in the city, which could include creating micro-housing and temporary shelters.

The Action Plan for Housing Supports and City Services for Sheltering in City Parks is part of a staff report put forward to council to address the lack of adequate housing opportunities for homeless people in Victoria, which has resulted in many of them taking shelter in city parks.

“These sheltering activities are having a number of impacts on city parks and resources, and the community,” according to the report.

As a solution, the comprehensive plan includes seeking funding to open 40 adult emergency mats between May and October, when they are generally closed; and establishing specific park locations where individuals can temporarily set up shelter at night.

The most popular initiative was the possibility of setting up micro-housing for roughly 35 to 50 individuals. The site would provide a variety of sleeping facilities including semi-permanent wooden structures, Conestoga huts or tents, on a site roughly one acre in size.

Potential sites for alternative shelter models include Topaz, Banfield and Stadacona parks.

On Thursday, council voted 6-1 in favour of the report.

“The fact that we’re having this conversation, means that something’s not working,” said Mayor Lisa Helps, noting that more people are using shelters in 2014 than in 2010. “We’ve been throwing millions of dollars, not we as a city, as a society and things are getting worse not better.”

“This is a First World country, we live in a capital city and there is absolutely no reason why our parks should be used in the way they are by people who are in desperate need of housing . . . This is heartbreaking, but it’s necessary.”

It was Coun. Jeremy Loveday who put forward the motion during the meeting.

“We’ve committed to building a healthy and inclusive city and that means for everyone and that means for people without homes,” said Loveday. “The time for raising awareness is over, it’s time for us to raise roofs and to really work together.”

The only councillor to oppose the motion was Geoff Young.

“There are some significant elements of the report that I do not support and rather than making amendments, which I sense are not going to be met with support from my colleagues, I’ll end up not being supportive of the motion as a whole,” he said.

An additional operating funding of up to $350,000 from 2015 contingencies will be used to support specific plan initiatives. However, the costs of establishing micro-housing is not included in the funding.

There is no timeline set for the projects.

 

 

Just Posted

Howard the Gnome finds a home at Galey Farms

Eight-metre gnome expected to greet visitors to Saanich farm this fall

In a fight against cancer, Victoria man’s only stem cell match was his own donation

More mixed race and Asian stem cell donors needed, says Victoria family

Bridges for Women grad takes on new business idea

Victoria woman puts her lessons into action with Sweeping Beauty Concierge

VicPD warn public on fake firearms after responding to four gun calls in just five hours

Officers treat each firearm as a real weapon until they can determine it isn’t, say police

Purple Day 2019: Victoria marks epilepsy awareness day

1 in 100 Canadians live with epilepsy, a neurological disorder with many symptoms

VIDEO: 13-year-old killed in B.C. crash that involved five kids

The children range in age from six to 17.

POLL: Do you still have a landline telephone?

With smart phones becoming an indispensable part of modern-day life, more and… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 26

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

MPs denounce leaked reports of Trudeau-JWR clash over Supreme Court pick

Opposition MPs called the leaks an act of desperation meant to smear Wilson-Raybould

Study says B.C.’s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for eviction

The study involves 50 people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

VIDEO: Homicide team called in after three killed in Surrey car crash

Investigators ask public to come forward with information, dashcam video

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

UPDATED: Sailings resume after BC Ferries boat hits Langdale terminal

The Queen of Surrey is stuck on the dock, causing delays to Horseshoe Bay trips

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Most Read