Tag Archives: Port Alberni Homelessness

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

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

‘Staggering’ number of first-time users during holidays, says Salvation Army

By Alexandra Mehl, Ha-Shilth-Sa, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Vancouver Island, BC – This past holiday season saw what seemed like endless snow filling communities throughout Vancouver Island. As the snow fell, the social services sectors worked hard through the month tending to weather and holiday needs of vulnerable people. 

Among some services that were needed was the Salvation Army’s emergency weather response program, which provides extra mats in shelters to meet the demands of unhoused folks.

Continue reading ‘Staggering’ number of first-time users during holidays, says Salvation Army

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