A new location is being sought for the sleeping cabins for the homeless in the Duncan area as two sites currently in use will be shut down at the end of March when their leases expire.
A report from the Cowichan Housing Association and the Lookout Housing and Health Society, which are in charge of the program, said the closing of the sites on St. Julien Street and The Mound on Government Street is a significant loss of essential community resources and a difficult time for everyone as they adjust to this new reality.
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“The closure of these sites cannot be helped and the sites need to be cleaned and cleared by the end of March at the latest,” the report said.
“We need to have the people moved out of the two sites by mid-March.”
But Shelley Cook, executive director of the CHA, said a large number of the 34 people living in the 36 cabins at the two locations will go to the “It Takes a Village” site that will have 34 sleeping cabins and wrap-around services at 610 Trunk Rd. when the site finally opens, which is expected in mid-March after BC Hydro hooks the site up with power.
But it’s expected that the Village site won’t be able to house all those from the two other sites when they close, as well as deal with many others who are waiting to be housed, so Cook said the CHA and other front-line workers have been working hard to find alternate housing for as many as possible.
“There are no easy answers, so we’ve come up with a variety of solutions; including rent subsidies and arranging for a number of them to move in with friends and family,” she said.
“We’re putting a lot of effort and energy into finding another site for the sleeping cabins.”
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It will still likely be some time before BC Housing’s two supportive housing developments in the Valley will be open and able to offer the increasing number of homeless people in the area adequate housing.
The opening of the 51-unit supportive housing development at 2983 Drinkwater Rd., which was originally scheduled for last summer, has been postponed until later in the spring of 2022.
Construction of the other 48-unit development, which is located at 260 White Rd. in Duncan, is not expected to be completed until the end of 2022.
But even when the two facilities, with their combined 99 housing units, are complete, they will probably not cover the demand in the region as the waiting list for the units had more than 270 people on it as of September, 2021.