A couple that lived for years on a floating structure anchored off North Saanich’s Lillan Hoffar Park is receiving additional support somewhere in Greater Victoria following their relocation before Christmas.
That is according to Kerry Readshaw, director of communications for Beacon Community Services.
According to Brian Green, North Saanich’s director of planning, Beacon Community Services and the RCMP found the two persons living onboard the structure to “be in very ill health” during a visit before Christmas.
“They were taken off the vessels for their own safety,” said Green in an emailed statement. “Beacon (Community) Services found temporary accommodation for the two at the Sidney Travelodge and Beacon Services, then transferred them to the care of the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, who we now believe have found them permanent accommodation.”
Readshaw said her organization became involved through what she called “a variety of sources” in the community.
“As you know, Beacon Community Services is pretty plugged into the community and we heard through a variety of sources that these were folks who might need some assistance,” she said.
Readshaw declined to discuss the medical state of the couple, saying only “they needed assistance and we were pleased to provide.” She would also not comment on the specific circumstances that led to the couple living aboard the vessel or how they lived there.
“Speaking very broadly and not specific to this situation at all, I think it is quite clear that there is a growing concern about homelessness and growing needs across Greater Victoria,” she said. “As you know, the community is doing its best to address as many of these situations. This said, there clearly are challenges for all sorts of people in our community and Beacon Community Services is one of the organizations that reaches out and tries to assist where it can.”
As for the couple’s current state, Readshaw said they are receiving additional support from organizations other than Beacon Community Services since their relocation.
Privacy concerns prevented her from disclosing exactly where the couple are currently staying, only to say they are in Greater Victoria. “It’s my understanding that they do have some supports in place to provide them with the assistance that they need,” she said.
North Saanich is working with the Dead Boats Society to help remove the floating structure.
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