Funding extended to support people experiencing homelessness in Duncan
DUNCAN - More than 30 people experiencing homelessness in Duncan will continue to have access to safe homes with supports as the Province, through BC Housing, has extended operating funding for The Village until 2027.
"The Village has been a tremendous success in Duncan, and we are proud to help ensure its residents can continue to stay in their homes, while we work to open more permanent housing in the community," said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. "Homelessness is not a problem that can be easily solved, which is why we will continue to explore unique and innovative initiatives like The Village to support B.C.'s most vulnerable people."
The Village is a temporary supportive housing site with 34 individual sleeping units at 610 Trunk Rd. in Duncan. The housing is operated by Lookout Housing and Health Society, which provides residents with daily meals, and health and wellness supports. The Village opened at a different site as a pilot project by the Cowichan Housing Association to provide immediate housing for vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic. It moved to the Trunk Road property in 2022.
"The Village opened in July 2020 and continues to improve as we learn and adapt," said Michelle Staples, mayor of Duncan. "What began as a pandemic response has grown into a culturally safe wellness and recovery model. This site fills an essential gap in the continuum of housing and the city is pleased to receive continued support from the Province."
The extension is being funded through the Province's newly established Homelessness Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH) program. HEARTH provides emergency housing, shelter options and immediate co-ordinated supports to help people in encampments or sheltering in public spaces to move indoors and access temporary or permanent housing options that fit their needs.
Residents at The Village will eventually move to permanent supportive housing under construction in the community. The project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has more than 77,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway, including more than 350 homes in Duncan.
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan -
"The Village has brought vulnerable people safely indoors and connected them with services so they have supports they need to begin to rebuild their lives. Our work doesn't stop here. I look forward to continuing to work with the Cowichan community on permanent housing solutions for people in our community."
Shayne Williams, CEO, Lookout Housing and Health Society -
"Lookout Housing and Health Society is proud to operate The Village, which provides safe and healthy housing for some of our communities most vulnerable in Duncan. Lookout is honoured to partner with BC Housing and the City of Duncan on this successful housing model that demonstrates better health outcomes for those who call The Village their home."
Rob Douglas, mayor, North Cowichan -
"Funding for the continued operation of The Village will not only benefit Duncan, but also North Cowichan and the broader Cowichan region. Through temporary housing and extensive supports, this model has proven successful in helping people facing homelessness to get back on their feet, improve their health and well-being, and access services."
- The Province, through BC Housing, will provide approximately $1.5 million in annual operating funding for the Village through Dec. 31, 2026.
- The HEARTH program is part of Belonging in BC, the Province's plan to prevent and reduce homelessness.
- The plan will also add thousands of new supportive housing units and hundreds of complex-care spaces provincewide.
- BC Housing provided the land for the project, which will be used in the future for an affordable housing development.
- The housing structures are owned by Cowichan Housing Association.
To learn more about government's new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/