A motion coming to Victoria city council is pushing for the end of 24/7 sheltering in parks by March 31, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)

A motion coming to Victoria city council is pushing for the end of 24/7 sheltering in parks by March 31, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria lays out ambitious plan to end sheltering in parks by March 2021

A motion coming to council pushes for the end of 24/7 camping, all unhoused living indoors

A motion coming to Victoria council this week aims to get all people sheltering outdoors in city parks indoor housing, with a path to permanent housing by early 2021.

The motion, put forward by Mayor Lisa Helps and Coun. Jeremy Loveday, asks that the city, along with Island Health and BC Housing, offer housing or indoor shelter to everyone currently sheltering outdoors by March 31, 2021. In addition, the motion sets the same deadline for the end of 24/7 sheltering in city parks.

Throughout this year, it’s estimated the city has spent $1.4 million for managing sheltering in parks and if things continue the way they are, it’s predicted that the city will accrue a $1.7 million expenditure for the same issue.

“We understand that not all of the solutions outlined in the recommendations will be implemented by March 31. But we are confident that working together with BC Housing and Island Health that enough indoor spaces can be provided by March 31, while medium-term solutions – like the construction of affordable, supportive housing on Yates Street and Meares Street through modular (quick) construction methods – will follow,” reads the motion.

One of the recommendations asks staff to work with a private land owner or use city-owned land for the construction of temporary tiny home clusters of no more than 30 units.

Another recommendation is requesting the province open the vacant Oak Bay Lodge for people who are 55 or older and currently living in city parks until the building is demolished for redevelopment.

“We don’t think we should accept as a community is that it is more acceptable for seniors to spend the winter in tents than it is for them to spend the winter in a building recently vacated by seniors,” reads the motion.

The city has also set a new goal has been set of getting at least 200 of the approximately 250 people currently living outside, moved indoors by Dec. 31.

READ ALSO: Hotels might not be best option for Victoria’s homeless population

In order to do this, 60 units open this month in Langford and View Royal and rent for $375 per month as part of the Regional Housing First Program. People who are living in motels, shelters or supportive housing can move into these units and then 60 people living outside can move into the vacated spaces. The motion states that some people who are living outside may also move directly into one of these 60 units.

Another 24 units for treatment are available at Our Place’s Therapeutic Recovery Community in View Royal.

Additionally, BC Housing will provide 100 rent supplements – a top-up provided to the income assistance rates to make it possible for people living in supportive housing to move into market rental units. The plan is then to have people living in parks move into supportive housing units that are vacated. The people provided with the rent supplements would have $825 per month for rent and are “ready to move out of shelters or supportive housing” but may need light supports, which Island Health would provide.

The average price for a one-bedroom in Victoria is about $1,600. The $825 covers just over half of that, which is acknowledged in the plan. According to the motion, the mayor and others are working on a “creative solution to fill the funding gap.”

This motion will be discussed in Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Housing and Homelessness

Just Posted

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Fingers crossed that brain surgery can give Cole Moore a new lease on life after decade of seizures

Mary Mason of Owls Path Foundation presents plans for a Nuu-chah-nulth Cultural Centre to Port Alberni city council. The structure pictured in this image is the Copenhagen Opera House. (SCREENSHOT)
$25 million Indigenous cultural centre pitched for Port Alberni

Three possible locations put forward for multi-million-dollar Nuu-chah-nulth project

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made right here on Vancouver Island

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

To each their own pipe. The new sewer main during staging in James Bay before it was installed in 2018, to convey waste to the McLoughlin Point treatment facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘End in sight,’ for Victoria’s annual sewage overflows

Wastewater projects underway should end sewage overflows

The garage door doesn’t look like this anymore, and neither do my sister (left) and me. (Family photo)
Simpson: Home is where you know your neighbours

My mom has lived at the same address for 43 years, I have not

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. (Photo by Bernard Thibodeau)
Island MP touts national dental care program

Millions of Canadians don’t visit the dentist every year because they can’t afford to

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Most Read