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

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

The University of Victoria will mark the eighth annual Giving Tuesday with its Add Sprinkles campaign which collects funds to support various student initiatives across campus. (Photo courtesy UVic Photo Services)
Nearly 150 Greater Victoria groups prepare for eighth annual Giving Tuesday

Last year Canadians raised nearly $22 million in 24 hours

A man was issued a $230 fine after refusing to wear a mask inside a Central Saanich business. (Central Saanich Police Services/Twitter)
Man issued fine after refusing to mask up in Central Saanich business

$230 ticket issued under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

Aragon Properties’ proposed development for the corner of Cook and Pendergast streets in Cook Street Village was voted down by Victoria city council on Thursday night after a public hearing. (File contributed/ City of Victoria)
Lack of affordable housing spells end for Cook Street Village project in Victoria

Council narrowly defeats proposal for four-storey building on former Pic-A-Flic Video site

(Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Second driver facing impaired charges after View Royal traffic stop leads to loaded firearms

West Shore RCMP stop swerving motorist and Saanich woman who came to pick her up

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Most Read