Increasing Vulnerable Population Supports and Connections in the Comox Valley

The CVRD has been successful in securing a Strengthening Communities’ Services (SCS) grant for $1,093,000 to support agencies delivering services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The CVRD has partnered with the Coalition to End Homelessness and member municipalities to respond to the increased demand in the services provided in the Comox Valley and to demonstrate cost effectiveness and efficiency in providing support services regionally. This grant funding will help address the urgent and immediate needs of our community’s unsheltered homeless population and the related community health and safety challenges that we continue to face during the pandemic.

Funds from the grant will be directed towards the following activities and initiatives:

  • Creating an additional emergency overnight shelter
  • Increasing capacity of Connect (a day program that provides a safe, welcoming space for individuals experiencing homelessness)
  • Hiring additional community outreach workers
  • Undertaking public engagement and community outreach to educate and increase awareness on homelessness; offsetting costs related to bylaw enforcement during the pandemic
  • Building capacity and providing training for municipal staff who provide frontline services in bylaw compliance, public works, recreation, etc.

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the visibility of unsheltered homelessness in many communities, and related community health and safety challenges. Some of society’s most vulnerable members face challenges that have worsened in the context of COVID-19. This includes groups who are more likely to experience homelessness and are more vulnerable to the health and safety risks associated with living unsheltered, such as racialized people, women, and gender diverse individuals.  People who lack adequate housing are more likely to suffer from a range of health challenges, including mental health and substance abuse issues, and are highly vulnerable to COVID-19. Under the Safe Restart Agreement, the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia are providing $540 million in shared funding to local governments and Treaty First Nations to help manage the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

On February 18, 2021, the province announced the new Strengthening Communities’ Services (SCS) Program funding, as part of the Safe Restart Agreement, to support unsheltered homeless populations and address related community impacts. The goal of this program is to support local governments and Treaty First Nations that wish to take action, understanding that this will complement parallel Provincial efforts.

Additional Information

Project Contact

Contact Robyn Holme, Long Range Planner, Planning and Development Services online or call 250-334-6000.