Victoria's $30M homeless housing plan stumbles through another hurdle

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt says housing first strategy would put a roof over the heads of 367 people.

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt says housing first strategy would put a roof over the heads of 367 people

A Victoria councillor wants the Capital Regional District to build 367 units of housing to deal with the regions' homeless problem. (Shutterstock)

Victoria's regional hospital board has moved along part of a $30 million proposal to build more housing for the homeless.

"In some ways the fundamental component of the recommendation has been endorsed," said Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt, who has been pushing for the plan.

Isitt said the housing first strategy would put a roof over the heads of 367 people and ultimately save healthcare dollars in the long run through reduced healthcare and policing costs.

The initial proposal, which called for $50 million, was voted on by Victoria City Council last month. But Isitt said some existing rental units have been identified, lowering the price tag to $30 million.

On Wednesday, the board approved a motion for CRD staff to conduct a feasibility study for the project.

Decisions to ask federal, provincial and municipal governments for funding were deferred until December, when staff are expected to present their research. 

Homelessness a regional issue

Isitt said even though it might appear that most homeless people live downtown, the issue of homelessness affects residents of all 13 municipalities in the Capital Regional District.

"People from all municipalities and all electoral areas are confronted with homelessness, whether personally in terms of becoming homeless or having a family member who has challenges related to mental health, or addictions or poverty," said Isitt.

If the plan goes ahead without finding other funding sources, residents of of the CRD could see the cost show up on their property taxes.


With files from Megan Thomas


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