Progress being made in housing for homeless

Coalition_colour_logoJune 28, 2011 – Progress is being in Greater Victoria, as 435 new units of subsidized housing and rent supplements came online during 2010/11. [including 72 new apartments at Cool Aid’s Queens Manor and Olympic Vista]. These were for a variety of people, including seniors, families and people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. These and other findings were released today by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness (Coalition) in its report Hungry and Homeless in Greater Victoria: Fitting the Pieces Together.

During the same timeframe, 535 people were housed by outreach teams that specialize in working with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. They were housed in a variety of units, including subsidized housing, market units and SROs (single room occupancies).

“We know what needs to happen to solve homelessness in our Region,” Mayor Dean Fortin, co-chair of the Coalition. “Although we are on the right track, we know we need to do more − and do it more quickly.”

Research shows higher shelter usage in Greater Victoria during 2010/11, with 1,958 unique individuals keeping shelters at an average 95% capacity throughout the year. On a single night in February, 1,143 people sought shelter in temporary accommodations.

“It is important to note this is not a homeless count,” says lead researcher Dr. Bernie Pauly of UVic’s Centre for Addictions Research of BC. “This is a point-in-time count that shows us how many people sought shelter on one night. It does not include those sleeping outdoors, couch surfing, or staying in inadequate shelters.”

Four Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams provide outreach to people who primarily have mental illness and/or substance use issues. At admission, 41% of clients were housed and 59% were homeless. After six months, 89% were housed and only 11% remained homeless.

Hungry and Homeless also reports that 18,500 households are experiencing hunger, while 18,305 live in core housing need. Core housing need is when a household lives in housing that requires major repair, is overcrowded, or required more than 30% of the household income for rent or mortgage.

“Progress is being made, but there is still much to do,” Fortin says. “With innovation, partnership, and dedicated funding to create more affordable housing, we can achieve our vision of ending homelessness.”

Both Hungry and Homeless in Greater Victoria: Fitting the Pieces Together and the Coalition’s 2010/11 Annual Report can be found on the Coalition website:

Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is a partnership of local service providers, non-profit organizations, all levels of government, business and the faith community. The Coalition’s vision is to end homelessness in the Capital Region by 2018.

Centre for Addictions Research of BC is an official independent research center at the University of Victoria. CARBC is dedicated to research and knowledge exchange on substance use, harm reduction and addiction.

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Media contact:

Maggie Kerr-Southin
Communications and Planning Specialist

Debbie Thompson
Executive Director