Jenny Day, Lisa Wilcox, Carol Daize and Angela Ohlman of 100 Women Who Care present their cheque to Charlene Davis of Comox Rotary. Photo by Mike Chouinard

New shipping container home project opens in Island community

WeCanShelter represents joint effort between Comox Rotary and homelessness advocates

The doors opened on the first shipping container home for a homelessness project in the Comox Valley Sunday afternoon.

Representatives from Comox Rotary and Dawn to Dawn: Action on Homelessness Society, the two groups spearheading the project, joined guests at Courtenay’s Maple Pool Campground, the site where the shelters will be housed. The crowd included local government representatives, such as Mayor Bob Wells and Coun. Will Cole-Hamilton of Courtenay, Coun. Pat McKenna of Comox and Coun. Jesse Ketler of Cumberland.

Tom Grant from Dawn to Dawn and Comox Rotary president Charlene Davis cut the ribbon on the new home, part of the WeCanShelter project. Grant, a long-time advocate for homeless people, was a little caught off guard when it was revealed the first home would be named in his honour. He admitted he didn’t expect it.

“I probably wouldn’t have come down,” he joked. “It was very emotional.”

The home is twenty-feet long, eight feet wide and almost 10 feet high, and it is made from a refurbished shipping container. Inside, the home contains amenities such as a small fridge, induction hot plate, hot water tank, cupboards, storage space, a shower and toilet and a bed. They pack a lot of things into the small space, and the interiors with windows and blinds are quite bright, with walls painted in light blue and cream.

RELATED STORY: Shipping container housing for homeless to open this month at Courtenay site

Davis, who like Grant, has been working on this project for a long time, said the home, which will be joined by three others over this next year, is designed to be a first step for someone living without shelter. It is based on the Housing First concept, which aims to get vulnerable people into safe, secure homes first and then help with a person’s underlying issues. The hope is to have them move on to a next stage of supportive housing, then independent housing.

Dawn to Dawn will have a full-time social worker to monitor and choose candidates for the WeCanShelter homes, and there will be a written agreement for tenants to follow. Davis credits Maple Pool Campground’s Jin and Dali Lin for keeping the rents around the BC Housing level, making them affordable, along with working to reduce costs for tenants in general.

The project has been a community-wide effort. Davis estimates the unit will have cost Rotary about $20,000 and represent about 1,400 hours of volunteer time.

“I’m really proud of Comox Rotary,” Davis said. “We got behind this project and worked incredibly hard to make it happen.

She also credited the community’s support for donations, building materials and volunteer hours.

“Everywhere we turned people were offering constantly to help,” she said.

On Sunday, 100 Women Who Care representatives Jenny Day, Lisa Wilcox, Carol Daize and Angela Ohlman presented Davis with a cheque for $14,400 for WeCanShelter. As well, Roy’s Towne Pub in Royston recently held a fundraiser for the project and brought in close to $11,000. Grant says he ran into one man at the event who was so impressed, he offered to donate another $5,000 toward the effort.

The second and third shipping container homes are now being fitted with windows and doors, and they should be ready soon. Grant expects that as the first home served as kind of a prototype, it might have taken a little longer to get ready than the next ones will.

RELATED STORY: Maple Pool lawsuit settled

He also said it has helped that local political partners have gotten behind these initiatives to help homeless people.

“We’re getting more buy-in from the government as well,” he added.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

 

The public got a chance to look inside the shipping container home at the opening at Maple Pool Campground on Sunday. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Tom Grant and Charlene Davis celebrate after cutting the ribbon on the first unit of the WeCanShelter project between Dawn to Dawn and Comox Rotary. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Just Posted

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Man who stole truck and canoe in View Royal believed he was fleeing zombies, court finds

Judge finds man not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder for 2019 thefts

Electrical issue causes heavy smoke to billow from Oak Bay Avenue coffee shop

Victoria and Oak Bay fire crews responded to smoke at Victoria café

Former Victoria Royals manager celebrates Stanley Cup win

Grant Armstrong is now an amateur scout with Tampa Bay Lightning

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Shoplifting suspect allegedly spits on worker at store in Nanaimo

Suspect became aggressive when confronted by loss prevention officer at Walmart, say RCMP

Parksville pedestrian airlifted to hospital in Vancouver after nighttime collision

Police report man’s injuries were ‘significant’ but not life-threatening

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Survey finds doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE will lag demand

Canadian health officials have said additional flu vaccines have been ordered to meet expected demand

Most Read