Homelessness in Sooke. It exists, and has done so for a very long time. The following photos of a currently existing homeless camp were submitted anonymously to SPN. The location of this camp is currently not known, except to say that it is close to the town core.
A recent Point-in-Time survey saw a total of 36 valid surveys were completed in Sooke at the time of their study. This means that on the one night of March 15, at least 36 people were experiencing homelessness in Sooke. That number was a minimum estimate and considered an under-count of the actual extent of homelessness in Sooke. Some have estimated that there are over 100 homeless in Sooke.
There has been a rise of homeless camps in a number of regions throughout Vancouver Island, including in Victoria, Nanaimo and Saanich. According to a UBCM Housing Strategy document, “Local governments operate in a complex legal
environment. In both Victoria and Abbotsford (Abbotsford City vs. Shantz BCSC 2015; Victoria City vs. Adams BCSC 2008/BCCA 2009), the court established that individuals had a Charter right under Section 7 (life, liberty and security of persons) to camp on public property and that local governments had a right to regulate but not prohibit such use of public property.”
Homelessness is expensive to the public system. Again, from the UBCM Housing Strategy document, “In hard numbers, the average street homeless adult with severe addictions and or mental health issues in B.C. costs the public system in excess of $55,000 per year. Provision of adequate housing and supports is estimated to reduce this cost to $37,000 per year.” In Sooke, direct costs born by the taxpayer also include a number of fires every year tended to by the local fire department that are caused by homeless camps, caused by smoking or cooking fires. It was estimated elsewhere that the cost of cleaning up a homeless camp in Victoria was over $100,000. Prevention of homelessness is the best and most cost-effective solution.
The pathways to homelessness are many, and typically don’t include “by choice.” Typical pathways include:
- poverty – we are increasingly seeing wages that do not track with rising housing costs, and a growing number of seniors who are homeless;
- children aging out of government care,
- mental health,
- chronic health problems,
- family breakdown,
- unemployment, trauma and
- criminal justice discharge.
An affordable housing crisis exists in Sooke, as it does in many places throughout Canada. This crisis has been in the making for the past 30 years, and predicted for at least the last 20 years. Currently, one in four Canadians experience financial hardship.
The District of Sooke has established an Affordable Housing Committee, which had it’s initial meeting on July 26, 2018. The next meeting will be held on August 23 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm, and will be held in the Sooke Council Chambers located at 2225 Otter Point Road. The meetings are open to the public, and there is an opportunity for public input on the agenda.
- Greater Victoria Point in Time count results
- Sooke to be included for the first time, in this year’s annual homeless count
- What does poverty look like in Canada? Survey finds one-in-four experience notable economic hardship
- UBCM Housing Strategy
- Members of Affordable Housing Committee (Sooke) appointed
- The aging face of homelessness in North American cities
- B.C. government invests in new homes for Indigenous peoples in Langford
- Affordable rental homes on the way in Sooke (244 units) and Langford (250 units)
- New affordable homes, child care spaces on the way for people in Langford
- Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the annual allowable rent increase will be 2.5%.
- Letter: Compassion is needed, as many with homes are also one paycheque away from being homeless
- Rapid response to homelessness sees 2,000 modular homes built in BC
- Homelessness in Sooke: It exists
- Members of Affordable Housing Committee appointed
- District seeks membership for the Affordable Housing Committee
- Over 2,000 rental units coming to the CRD, with some attention to affordability
- Breaking ground on new rental homes for people in Colwood
- Victoria: Planned supportive short-term housing for Indigenous women facing homelessness
- 2018 Budget: Housing advocates welcome historic investments in affordable housing
- Housing strategy calls for action to diversify supply, manage demand & prevent homelessness
- Anxiety over housing, homelessness and poverty rises in British Columbia
- Council to consider bylaw amendment in January, allowing mobile homes on residential lots
- More than 1,000 modular homes now confirmed throughout B.C.
- Message from the Mayor: Affordable housing has been addressed for years (media is late to the party), and she wants to hear your ideas
- CTV covers the housing-boom/housing-crisis irony in Sooke
- Housing challenges for Sooke construction workers now; affordability committee can happen in Feb or March 2018
- National Housing Day solicits hope for affordable housing within the next decade
- Council expresses discomfort with the usage of the term, “affordable housing”
- From fires to fentanyl, from homes to homelessness, Horgan’s UBCM keynote covered the gamut
- Second co-housing project in Sooke deemed affordable, good to go
- Throne Speech: Affordability, improved services and economy are top BC priorities
- Victoria housing crisis threatens family unity
- Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness survey
- Ten townhouses coming to Ayre Road
- Regular Council meeting overview June 26