Working together to Develop Summer Emergency Shelter and Support

The Downtown Service Providers (DSP) are pleased to announce that a summer emergency service plan will be moving forward to offer shelter and services from July to October, 2010. These services will fill an identified gap in services that has left many of our city’s most vulnerable with limited options for support, and has resulted in disruptions on Victoria’s streets.

We commend the Province of BC for their swift response to the request for funding support – the Province’s commitment of $257,600 to this initiative will allow the plan to be implemented in the coming week.

This plan is the result of several emergency meetings held by the DSP over the past three weeks in response to the shared concerns among residents, businesses, and the DSP (which includes the Police, the City and VIHA as members) at the limited options for shelter and services for marginalized people over the summer.

The end of “extreme weather” seasonal shelters at the end of April resulted in a loss of 70 mats and 15 beds for people without housing. Furthermore, the warmer weather and longer days have brought more of the people we serve into the street, with limited access to shelter and health and support services, especially in the evening hours.

The DSP gathered to brainstormed strengths and opportunities within our own organizations or within the larger community that might help us to positively affect the situation. It was noted that a significant amount of new housing that is targeted for the chronically homeless will be coming on stream within  the next three to eight months – in all over 250 units (including the 120 market units attached to Streets to Homes)  – and that seasonal shelter beds should be in effect again by November.

The DSP then proposed a plan that combines services with shelter as a solution to alleviate the pressures faced by our community. This includes re-opening seasonal shelter beds and providing evening support programming. With funding secured, the DSP is committed to working with all of its members and partners, as well as the larger community, as we all work together to implement this plan and continue to be responsive to the needs and concerns in our community.

Information:

Rev. Al Tysick
Chair, Downtown Service Providers
(250) 388-7112 x 239


DOWNTOWN SERVICE PROVIDERS COMMITTEE

DIRECT MEMBERS

AIDS Vancouver Island
Action Committee for People with Disabilities
Oasis Society
Our Place Society
Pacifica Housing
The Salvation Army
Together Against Poverty Society
Vancouver Island Persons with Aids Society
Victoria AIDS Resource and Community Service
Victoria Cool Aid Society
Victoria Native Friendship Centre
Victoria Youth Empowerment Society
VIHA, Mental Health and Addictions Programs
YMCA/YWCA

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

City of Victoria, Sustainability Department
Downtown Victoria Business Association
Downtown Victoria Residents Association
Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness
Ministry of Housing and Social Development
The Church of St. John the Divine
United Way of Greater Victoria
Victoria Police Department

CHAIR – Rev Al Tysick