For Immediate Release – April 11, 2012
The cost of homelessness is both personal and financial. It is not just a struggle for those who find themselves without a secure, affordable and appropriate roof over their head. It is also a struggle for the health system, which deals with the high cost of health impacts to the homeless, as well as the broader costs to the community. Ronna-Rae Leonard, chair of the Comox Valley Housing Task Force, states, “We are all affected by homelessness, so we in the Comox Valley are fortunate to receive the attention of the Vancouver Island Health Authority to help address the growing need in our community.”
Building capacity is about sustainable solutions that will last long after the funding has been spent to address barriers of the homeless and those vulnerable to homelessness. Over the last two years, the Comox Valley Regional District has received funding from VIHA to build capacity to address homelessness. The Housing Task Force received nearly $115,000 of the funding, with $75,000 earmarked for granting to community initiatives. The Task Force was encouraged by the creativity and dedication expressed in all of the submitted proposals. Funding has been awarded as follows: $2,500 to the AHERO Event Committee for the “Your Valley Frontline Resource Fair” scheduled for October 11, 2012; $7,500 to the Denman Community Land Trust Association for the “Rural Affordable Housing Project”; and $65,000 to a joint application from Dawn to Dawn, AIDS Vancouver Island, Comox Valley Transition Society and Wachiay Friendship Centre for the “Comox Valley Community Capacity Initiative Project”. (Click here to download or view the document in PDF format in a new tab or window.)
The recipients will produce a final report and a public presentation at the end of the projects. “Over and over again, we have been advised that the best way to be successful in getting housing built in the Comox Valley is to speak with one voice”, says Chair Leonard. The Task Force is committed to achieving that united voice to meet the full range of housing needs. The Building Capacity to Address Homelessness Grant Program is one of the many ways that the Task Force aims to facilitate this goal.


Further details of the grants:

  • Your Valley Frontline Resource Fair is intended to remove barriers to accessing services (like transportation, low literacy, fear, communication challenges, lack of phone or internet) by providing direct interaction between the homeless and those in need of housing with helping agencies at the 3-hour event. It will also provide a free bbq (provided by the Salvation Army), hot beverages, clothing, haircuts and hygiene supplies as well as 90 grocery gift cards. Later, 2 hours are reserved for inter-agency networking.
  • The Rural Affordable Housing Project intends to support the mandate of the Agricultural Land Commission to support farm families and enhance the integrity and sustainability of agriculture, by working collaboratively with the ALC to establish terms and a framework for contracted farm plans with criteria for acceptable affordable rural housing/farm plans. The goal is to create a template for housing options for low income individuals and families who are committed to farming and rural living, and safeguard the viability of the Agricultural Land Reserve.
  • Comox Valley Community Capacity Initiative Project will focus on more efficient service delivery, through building partnerships and collaborations to improve assessment and case management processes and tools, and engage stakeholders, including agencies, street outreach workers, landlords, and the community (including local governments) through focus groups, to clarify and respond to the challenges and opportunities that exist in our community.