British Columbia

Victoria homelessness: camping in parks a problem in suburbs too

While the tent city on the lawn of the Victoria law courts keeps making headlines, a University of Victoria professor says homeless camping is a problem in Victoria’s suburbs as well.

UVic professor says Saanich needs to deal with homelessness

Victoria Police watch over residents at the homeless camp at the Victoria law courts. Homeless people camping in parks is growing in Saanich as well, says a University of Victoria professor. (Chad Hipolito/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

While the tent city on the lawn of the Victoria law courts keeps making headlines, a University of Victoria professor says homeless camping is a problem in Victoria's suburbs as well.

Trevor Hancock, with UVic's School of Public Health and Social Policy, recently wrote a draft paper for the Gorge Tillicum Community Association — of which he is a member — addressing homelessness and housing affordability in Saanich.

That paper calls for more help to deal with homelessness as tents are on the rise in places such as Cuthbert Holmes Park.

"What we saw in Saanich, particularly over the last summer, and into the fall, was a bit of an upsurge in camping and also the state of the camps," Hancock told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

"In a few cases [there were] troubling or unsettling interactions with people, although that's not true of most campers."

Hancock says that at present, there is no permanent shelter in Saanich, which is part of the problem.

"We need to deal with the people in our own community rather than leave it to the Capital Regional District or leave it to the City of Victoria with its shelters and services," he said.

Hancock's paper calls on the District of Saanich to hire a dedicated planner.

He thinks the District should establish a community task force to engage the community on solutions.

Hancock says he wants other community associations in Saanich to find out more about homelessness in their neighbourhoods so they can present a case for action to Saanich council.

With files from All Points West


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Saanich researcher says suburbs, not just Victoria, seeing increase in homeless people camping

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.