PEI

Charlottetown street navigator says he sees 'direct impact' of housing crisis every day

Andrew Daniels has filled the street navigator position with Downtown Charlottetown Inc. and he says about a month into his role he is getting to know more names and faces every day.

'Something that I have run into is even people that have enough money to get housing can't find it either'

'I spend at least an hour or so every day looking on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace to try and find apartments for people and they are not easy to come by,' says Andrew Daniels, street navigator with Downtown Charlottetown Inc. (Stephanie Kelly/CBC)

Andrew Daniels says about a month into his role as Downtown Charlottetown Inc.'s street navigator he is getting to know more names and faces every day.

The street navigator role involves outreach to some of the city's vulnerable populations including the homeless and those with addictions with the aim to help them with anything from finding a place to live to helping them put shoes on their feet.

Daniels said he wants to make a "real impact" on the number of people experiencing homelessness in Charlottetown, increase public awareness and rally community support.

"There is a real possibility that if the community rallies together and my organization was to maybe receive more funding, that sort of thing, we could really make an impact on homelessness in general."

On the streets of Charlottetown, Daniels said he has seen many who have struggles.

"I'm seeing, a lot of time, addictions and mental health. Those are the two biggest things I think every client I have interacted with has some experience with," Daniels said.

Mental health, addictions and housing

Daniels said finding housing for clients is difficult right now.

"The housing crisis as well of course is a big one that I see the impacts, maybe the most direct impact of the housing crisis, because you see people who are quite literally left out on the street because they can't afford a place to go," Daniels said.

Charlottetown has one of the lowest vacancy rates among Canadian cities at 0.2 per cent and Daniels said he sees direct impacts when trying to find people housing.

"I spend at least an hour or so every day looking on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace to try and find apartments for people and they are not easy to come by," Daniels said.

He said he has responded to ads posted for two hours with 600 hits and by the time he sends a message he doesn't even get one in return.

"Something that I have run into is even people that have enough money to get housing can't find it either," Daniels said of the rising house prices in Charlottetown.

Breaking bad news

He said it can be difficult to break the news to someone on the street he can't find them housing.

"It is definitely frustrating and a little disheartening to have to tell people like, 'listen I know you really want a place right now, but the reality is it's probably not going to be an immediate solution,'" Daniels said. He said he recommends using shelters in the city.

However, he said the space in those shelters is often limited and he's trying to help work toward something more sustainable.

"Before winter comes around I want to help as many people to find stable housing as possible, but the reality is there isn't an immediate solution," he said.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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