Tag Archives: At Risk pop in Campbell River

Unhoused People Struggle with ‘Street Feet’ in Rainy Vancouver

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the Tyee, which gives a warning about the photos you see above (and puts them in the text below). When people cannot dry their feet out for a prolonged period of time, they get what some of our WWI grandfathers and great grandfathers called ‘trench foot.’

This report is from Vancouver, but probably also applicable in our area. The 2023 ‘Point in Time counts‘ found 197 ‘house challenged’ people in Campbell River, 272 in the the Comox Valley, and 126 in Powell River. There is less data about rural areas, but 11 of the respondents to the 2022 ‘Collecting Stories Of Where You Live’ survey on Cortes Island reported they had been ‘unsheltered’ at some point during the year. There were fewer respondents in Area C (which includes Quadra, Read and other Discovery Islands), where the number was 12.

Even more alarming, the number of ‘homeless’ people appears to be growing. 32% of the respondents to the Campbell River ‘Point in Time’ count said they had been ‘unsheltered’ for less than a year. There were actually 81 more people on the streets than in the 2021 count. Similar increases were reported in the Comox ValleyParksville/QualicumPort Alberni and Sechelt/Gibsons. (This was the first ‘Point in Time’ count in Powell River, so there are no previous numbers for a comparison.) When people were asked why they were unsheltered, the #1 response in every one of these ‘Point in Time’ counts was they could not afford to pay for housing.

There are far larger numbers of people spending more of their than income than they can reasonably afford (i.e. +30%) for rent or mortgages. According to the 2021 census, 47% of the renters on Cortes Island and 38% of the renters in Campbell River and Electoral Area C are vulnerable. Roughly 15% of the home owners in these three communities are also considered to be ‘at risk.’

By Michelle Gamage, The Tyee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

In the winter and spring, unhoused people in Vancouver struggle with something known anecdotally as “street feet.”

It happens when the rain soaks your socks and shoes and you’re unable to clean and dry your feet regularly, sometimes leaving them damp for months on end.

Continue reading Unhoused People Struggle with ‘Street Feet’ in Rainy Vancouver

Rachel Blaney on  the Housing Crisis, Homelessness and Campbell River’s treatment of the Art Gallery

When you get to Cortes, you can multiply all those economic stressors by three or four because we have  clients who have been suffering for years with precarious employment, precarious housing, and higher food costs than mainland food costs.” – Cortes Island Food Bank

It’s been a month since hundreds of Campbell River residents were shocked to learn that their city council appeared to be punishing the local art gallery for not confronting the homeless people camped outside its doors.  As city councilor Ron Kerr put it, “We certainly don’t need to give them tax deferrals if they’re not working with us.”

Local MP Rachel Blaney referred to the incident in the House of Commons when speaking about the housing and homelessness crisis:

“My region has seen the largest increase of unhoused people on record. There was a 106% jump in the Comox Valley and almost 70% percent in Campbell River. This is a catastrophe. The Prime Minister says housing is not a federal responsibility, as people and communities move beyond a crisis point. This while Conservative council members in Campbell River have begun targeting non-profits who provide essential services to the unhoused. When are the Liberals going to be an actual federal partner and build people homes? ” 

Continue reading Rachel Blaney on  the Housing Crisis, Homelessness and Campbell River’s treatment of the Art Gallery

The #1 cause of homelessness

“Scapegoating: the act of blaming a person or group for something bad that has happened or that someone else has done. Example: the scapegoating of immigrants for the country’s economic problems.” – Cambridge Dictionary

While it is easy to blame the unhoused population for their predicament, all of the recent ‘Point In Time’ (PIT) suggest they are indications of a much larger problem. 

Continue reading The #1 cause of homelessness

SRD applying for $150,000 poverty reduction planning grant

The high cost of housing is one of the most visible symptoms. Close to a third of the households on Cortes Island and a quarter of those on Quadra pay more than they can afford for rent or mortgages. The most visible segment of Campbell River’s house challenged population are the 130 people who do not own or rent a home, but 2021 census data shows another 3,450 residents are ‘spending 30% or more of income on shelter costs.’

According to Stats Canada, the nation’s median hourly wage was 36 cents lower in 2021 than 2020, but costs are rising. The average family of four is expected to pay $1,000 more for groceries this year.  In a recent nationwide Angus Reid poll, 45% of the respondents said they are worse off this year than at the same time last year. 

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is applying for a $150,000 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) grant to develop a plan for reducing poverty throughout the District.

Continue reading SRD applying for $150,000 poverty reduction planning grant

A New Approach to Homelessness: Housing First

As Currents recently reported, homelessness is not just “an American thing,” or “a big-city thing,” or even “a Vancouver Island thing.”  Homelessness is also here on Cortes, where a recent survey found that about 50 people rated their housing situation as “unstable,” and 11 were living rough (with no permanent shelter, in tents or other makeshift accommodation).

Although “housing” might sound like a single issue, it has has knock-on effects throughout our community.

Continue reading A New Approach to Homelessness: Housing First