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

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

Just Posted

Victoria police seized drugs, knives, two firearms and ammunition off a man early Nov. 4. (Victoria Police Department)
VicPD makes early morning drug and weapons seizure

Officers seize drugs, knives, two firearms and ammunition

Victoria police seek witnesses after a 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on a BC Transit bus. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police seek witnesses after teen sexually assaulted on Victoria bus

Man followed a teen onto a bus from a stop at Douglas and Fort streets

Saanich police reported a crash on the Pat Bay Highway near Haliburton Road impacting southbound traffic Friday afternoon. (Google Maps)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway clear following two-vehicle crash

Two drivers were transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

A project on McCallum Road will add 227 residential units to Langford. (Photo courtesy of Highstreet Ventures)
Residential project slated for McCallum Road in Langford

Six-storey development will be built to highest energy-efficiency standards

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty ventilators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of paymens for household incomes up to $175,000

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… 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 Dec. 1

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

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Lake Trail Middle School in Courtenay has closed again due to a threat Friday (Dec 4). File photo
Island middle school closed for the second time in a week due to threat

On Nov. 26, Lake Trail Middle School was closed for a day while a similar incident occurred.

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week

Most Read