Comox Valley Homelessness Supports Service
Housing affordability and availability and the issue of homelessness are matters of great concern in the Comox Valley. The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) has worked with neighbouring jurisdictions and numerous community service providers to develop materials, conduct research and propose ways of addressing homelessness in the Comox Valley.
As the result of a referendum held in 2015, the CVRD established the Homelessness Supports Service.
Background to the Homelessness Supports Service
In November 2014, the CVRD held a non-binding vote to measure public opinion on the homelessness issue. When asked, 71 per cent of voters indicated that they would pay at least $5 on their taxes to support initiatives to help address homelessness. Residents of the City of Courtenay, Town of Cumberland and the three electoral areas of the CVRD voted. Residents of Hornby and Denman Islands were not included; the Town of Comox indicated its intention to pursue other methods to address homelessness.
In response, the CVRD Board of Directors passed a motion to hold a referendum in November 2015. Of 3,050 votes cast in that referendum, 53 per cent were in favour of supporting the initiative. Full results can be found on the 2015 Homelessness Supports Referendum page.
Overview of the Homelessness Supports Service
The Comox Valley Homelessness Supports Service Establishment Bylaw No. 389 provides for the CVRD to fund one or more non-governmental organization(s) in the Comox Valley. Funding is based on a five-year plan developed by the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness (“the coalition”) and approved by the CVRD board.
The coalition works with many local service providers in a collaborative manner to identify agencies, timelines, costs and deliverables over a five-year period, as described in its Five Year Plan to End Homelessness.
In 2016 the Homelessness Supports Service funded Comox Valley Transition Society, Amethyst House (refurbished two units and funding to assist in the purchase of a fourplex).