There are almost 600 people in Greater Victoria identified as Absolutely Homeless in the most recent Point-in-Time survey. Of those 600 people, 41% first experienced homelessness before the age of 18.
As Chairman of Threshold Housing Society, I know the tremendous amount of good that can come from tackling the homelessness issue in Victoria with smart policy and effective resource allocation. Our transitional housing and life skills programming for at-risk youth has helped countless young people stay off the streets and build healthy futures. We have been preventing adult homelessness one youth at a time. Getting life updates from someone who was a part of Threshold in the past and are now doing great things is one of the most rewarding feelings.
Tent cities, sleeping in doorways, piecemeal approaches, and crisis-driven plans are not acceptable. Victoria can and should be a vibrant, resilient, and equitable community. As a city councillor I would act to ensure lasting safety, dignity, well-being, and hope for our most vulnerable population.
Tent cities are not safe for their residents nor the surrounding community. I believe we need a regional approach that focuses on providing facilities and services throughout the CRD to our most under-served and vulnerable citizens across the entire housing spectrum, including enhanced support and care to eliminate the need to sleep in parks and on the street. To do so requires participation by all CRD municipalities as well as partner organizations such as the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, Island Health, and the Provincial government.
This is truly a regional concern and Victoria, as a municipality of less than 86,000 people, cannot tackle and solve the issue of homelessness alone. As someone who has experience in this sector and has regularly worked with other levels of government, I will be a leader in ensuring that all levels of government step up to the plate and live up to their responsibilities.