The City of Victoria has approved $300,000 from their COVID-19 response funding to continue housing the city’s unsheltered population.
The motion, filed by councillors Ben Isitt, Jeremy Loveday, Sarah Potts, and Sharmarke Dubow was voted on and approved during Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
As a result, city staff will continue searching for hotel and motel rooms to book across the region for homeless people living outdoors.
The money will be drawn from unspent COVID-19 response funding that was previously approved for the city to spend.
“I think it’s a big challenging for the city to be stepping into this role. [BC Housing] has looked under every stone for hotel and motel rooms,” said Mayor Lisa Helps, who was not present at the Committee of the Whole meeting but commented on the motion at a press briefing on Friday.
“I think council wanted to pass a motion to show that some effort is continuing to be made, but in my opinion BC Housing is doing a tremendous job. We’re gonna be hard pressed not only to find any extra motel rooms but in particular the support services needed for people moving into them.”
Any housing secured for unsheltered populations in the region will be managed by BC Housing and city council plans to continue advocating to the provincial government to secure more housing across the province.
Most recently, a provincial order created hotel and other housing options for 360 homeless people who had set up camp at Topaz Park and along Pandora Ave.
For unsheltered people outside of those encampments, the City of Victoria passed a motion last week to allow them to camp until June 25 at sites like Beacon Hill Park.
The city will maintain hygiene facilities and washrooms close to 24 hour shelter sites for those who continue sheltering outdoors.