To better understand the extent and nature of homelessness, we funded and conducted three Point-in-Time Homeless Counts in Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley since 2017.
The results are startling.
The homeless population has nearly doubled from 174 to 335 in Nanaimo over the past two years. The Cowichan Valley is no different with the homeless population spiking from 58 in 2014 to 115 in 2017.
Worse still is that people are homeless for longer periods of time, and lack of access to affordable housing is impacting people from all walks of life.
“Each person we interviewed has a powerful story and each one deserves a safe, affordable place to live,” says Signy Madden, executive director of UWCNVI. “Unfortunately, the huge increase in numbers threatens the integrity and sustainability of the system of supports and shelters we currently have. New solutions are needed now.”
Madden presented these findings to Nanaimo’s City Council along with a five-year Action Plan developed by the Nanaimo Homelessness Coalition. The Council will use these recommendations as it drafts Nanaimo's Affordable Housing Strategy in the coming months.
While we have come a long way, we aren't stopping anytime soon. United Way is working on a similar action plan in the Cowichan Valley, participating on Oceanside and Comox homelessness coalitions, and convening a new coalition in Campbell River.
Service Canada has committed to investing $2.2 billion across the country over 10 years starting in 2019 as part of its Homelessness Partnering Strategy; this includes investment designated for Duncan, Nanaimo, and rural/remote communities in our region. UWCNVI manages this funding and local coalitions.
These funds, along with your donations and support, help us tackle homelessness across Vancouver Island.
Help us collaborate and advocate for solutions to homelessness in your local community.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.