You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that affordable housing and homelessness is a problem in Greater Victoria.
This summer’s Grant Manor fire brought it home to Sooke quite dramatically when 20 or so people were left displaced after the fire. It took a good few months to find appropriate housing.
Yet, Victoria city council’s hopes of having the Capital Regional District borrow $50 million to house the homeless seems like it’s throwing the baby out with the bath.
The solution works perfectly for Victoria. After all, so much of the homeless problem is situated in the downtown core. But it will do little to help outlying areas such as Sooke.
Last winter when the emergency weather shelter system was activated across the region, only three people from Sooke area were helped. That in a nutshell should tell you about the degree of homelessness in our backyard.
“The underlining issue here is the absence of appropriate support from the senior levels of government, such as the federal government, who has been out of housing for almost 20 years now, and the provincial government that hasn’t focused on the challenges here on the Island,” said MLA John Horgan.
He’s right, of course.
There are more important matters in Sooke to focus on.
Victoria’s so-called solution to homelessness only helps Victoria, it doesn’t take into account that other communities – Sooke in particular – are their own entities, and should be treated as such when it comes to such region-wide decisions.
If Victoria city council wants to solve a regional issue, it should look at homelessness in its community. But if it wants the CRD to buck up $50 million, it should be put in the hands of local communities to deal with their own housing issues.
It comes down to local decision for local people.