Homeless counts have risen significantly in the past two years in Courtenay.
In efforts to improve all its residents’ living conditions, the city has been choosing to funnel money toward their most vulnerable citizens.
“These are individuals who are struggling,” Kate O’Connell, Director of Corporate Services, told Courtenay Council at a recent meeting. “Support services are meant to lift them up. They’re not just a number.”
The money comes from a $1.093 million Strengthening Communities Grant the city received last year.
$91,028 was utilized for expanded services at the Connect Warming Centre Program from September 2021 to January 2022. In addition, The city granted $105,000 more to the Community Cares Warming Centre, a temporary evening drop-in from January to April 1, 2022.
Now the CVTS Community Access Hub is receiving funding to operate six days a week until June 30, 2023.
This Hub has a shower program, washrooms, harm reduction and overdose response, along with other services to help make living without a house a little easier.
Outreach on Denman and Hornby islands, AIDS Vancouver Island peer-based outreach, and Sunday Service Community Engagement is underway.
Coun. Doug Hillian spoke in the meeting about the urgent need for this funding to help community members living without a house.
“For us not to respond by working with our partner agencies would, in my view, be a dereliction of our duty to our citizens, the most vulnerable and others.”
These issues may seem like they’re not going anywhere. But with the ongoing response, changes are slowly being made.