Julia Caranci, Alberni Valley Times
Published: Friday, March 30, 2012
The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District has received one-time funding grant from the Vancouver Island Health Authority to assist with developing strategies to address homelessness and to support healthy communities,
"We know homelessness is an issue in all Vancouver Island communities," said VIHA spokesperson Valerie Wilson. "Initiatives that assist in addressing homelessness in turn contribute to healthier communities."
ACRD chief administrative officer Russell Dyson said the funds will be split. The Alberni-Clayoquot Community Health Network will be allotted $505,000 to use for initiatives to help improve the health of people living in the Valley. The remaining $300,000 is earmarked for homelessness initiatives in the region, with input from the Alberni Valley Community Dyson said firm decisions on what the funds are used for will be made in the coming weeks.
Wes Hewitt, AVCSI member and administrator of the Port Alberni Shelter Society, said this is great news. The funds can be used in a variety of ways here. He said the city has a shortage of transitional and supportive housing, including a lack of second-stage housing for women leaving abusive relationships.
A proposed project to build a new homeless shelter could be one of the projects that is funded with part of the grant, but Hewitt stressed there are many groups and issues that require attention. Last year AVSCI received a $285,000 VIHA grant, which was dispersed to various groups, including the Shelter Society, the Port Alberni Friendship Center and the West Coast Women's Resources Society.