(Photo by Colin Smith Takes Pics)

Victoria City Council voted unanimously on August 6 to support priority housing for those who have been homeless in the community for over a year.

Mayor Lisa Helps put forward the Motion on July 31 following the release of the Greater Victoria Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of the homeless population in the Capital Regional District (CRD).

“Once again we see that the strong majority, over 80 per cent of people who are experiencing homeless in the Capital Region are from the Capital Region,” Mayor Helps said in Council on August 6.

Her motion asked that the Coordinated Assessment and Access (CAA) process prioritize people who have lived in the region for one year or more.

The CAA process is administered by BC Housing, Island Health, and the CRD.

Current criteria prioritizes housing for Indigenous people, people who are chronically homeless, and those over the age of 55.

Helps’ motion also called on the CAA process administrations to broaden the age priority to better reflect the results of the PIT Count.

According to the survey, only 12 per cent of the homeless population in the CRD had lived in the area for under a year.

“It doesn’t mean that these people are the only people who will get housing,” Mayor Helps added in Council.

“It just means that when they take a lens to look at who should receive housing or motel rooms or indoor sheltering opportunities, first, it’s people who are Indigenous, who are in that age range, and with this change, who have lived in the Capital Region for one year or more.”

The motion was seconded by Councilor Alto and passed with the unanimous support of Council.

Mayor Helps says that the CAA administrative body will be reviewing their criteria in September.