Shelter to open year round on Salt Spring Island
SALT SPRING ISLAND – People experiencing homelessness on Salt Spring Island will have year-round access to shelter and services, following funding from the Province to extend operations.
“People experiencing homelessness on Salt Spring deserve to have a safe, warm place to go year round,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are so thankful for our community partners on the island who are working with us to deliver the services people need. This type of partnership is what Homelessness Action Week is all about.”
Starting Nov. 1, 2019, the shelter operated by Salt Spring Island Community Services (SSICS) will be open all year, providing people with a warm, safe space to sleep. Located at 268 Fulford-Ganges Rd., the shelter provides 30 overnight beds, access to laundry and showers and two meals a day for shelter guests. The shelter will be open overnight from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Staff will remain on-site in the morning to connect guests with community resources.
“Housing challenges experiences in communities across British Columbia are magnified on the Southern Gulf Islands,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. “I’m thrilled that the government has responded to the calls from Salt Spring Island to expand shelter services. Homelessness is deeply impacting the community, and I’m happy to support the work of the incredible staff and administration of Salt Spring Island Community Services as they work to support the community's most vulnerable residents.”
Previously, the shelter was open from Nov. 1 to March 31 every year and regularly operated at full capacity. By having a year-round shelter, staff will be able to strengthen their relationships with shelter guests, assist people with moving into permanent housing and provide support accessing other resources within the community.
“This is a most welcome and much-needed advancement of services for Salt Spring Island,” said Rob Grant, executive director, SSICS. “The community and our elected officials have been very active in making it known to the Province that Salt Spring has a very significant homeless population and more services are required. It is to the credit of BC Housing that they have acknowledged that and recognized the need here.”
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement
- The Province is providing approximately $720,000 in funding to extend operations at the shelter.
- Through BC Housing, the Province provides 10 rental supplements to people on Salt Spring Island who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness to access rental accommodations in the private market.
- To address the issue of housing affordability in British Columbia, the Province is curbing speculation in B.C.’s housing market and working with partners to build 114,000 affordable market rental, non-profit, supported social housing and owner-purchase housing through partnerships.
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit:
Learn more about Salt Spring Island Community Services:
Donations to the shelter and outreach services to provide supplies, clothing and emergency supports for individuals in need are welcome. Learn more by contacting SSICS at 250 537-9971.
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Province building new homes to meet full spectrum of housing needs
The B.C. government is working in partnership to build 114,000 affordable homes that cover the full spectrum of housing needs for British Columbians by 2028.
Budget 2018 included a $7-billion investment in the homes people need. As a result of that investment, more than 22,000 new homes are complete, under construction or in the approvals process for a range of people who are struggling to find a place to live — from people who are experiencing homelessness and seniors on fixed incomes, to middle-income families, students and individuals. As of Aug. 31, 2019, this includes:
Housing for middle-income earners (households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $150,000) - approximately 4,120 homes:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 1,500 rental homes for people with middle incomes.
- HousingHub: approximately 2,620 homes.
Housing for people with low to moderate incomes (including some where rents are based on 30% of household income and others with set rents, which are designed to be affordable to moderate-income households, in most cases earning less than $70,000 annually) - approximately 9,320 homes:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 3,700 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes.
- Affordable Rental Housing Program: nearly 1,600 homes for low to moderate incomes.
- Deepening Affordability Fund: more than 2,150 homes for low to moderate incomes.
- Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: more than 1,170 homes for Indigenous peoples, on- and off-reserve.
- Regional Housing First Program: more than 700 homes for people with low to moderate incomes.
Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness (shelter-rate housing) - more than 3,060 homes:
- Rapid Response to Homelessness: 2,064 homes with 24/7 support.
- Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: nearly 800 homes with 24/7 support.
- Regional Housing First Program: more than 200 homes for those ready to live independently with supports.
Housing for women and children leaving violence - approximately 360 homes:
- Building BC: Women's Transition Housing Fund: approximately 360 spaces of transition,
- second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence.
Housing for students - approximately 5,600 homes:
- BC Student Housing Loan Program: approximately 2,700 on-campus student housing units are underway or in the approvals process.
- Nearly 2,900 student housing units are also underway or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions.
Total: approximately 22,460 homes
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing