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Duncan will again advocate for “The Village” housing model at UBCM

City wants model included in B.C.’s provincial housing plan
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Tom Duncan

The City of Duncan is continuing its campaign for the province to provide long-term funding for “The Village” transitional housing project at 610 Trunk Rd., and to replicate the housing model in other communities across B.C.

The city advocated for The Village at last year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting, but long-term funding and support for the housing model hasn’t yet been included in B.C.’s provincial housing plan.

Council members will be meeting with Housing Minister Ravi Kahon at the next UBCM meeting in September, and council decided at its meeting on May 21 to bring it up again with Kahon at that time.

RELATED STORY: CITY OF DUNCAN WANTS TO SEE MORE MODELS OF THE VILLAGE IN B.C.

The Village, which is owned by BC Housing and operated by Lookout Housing and Health Society, currently has up to 40 modular sleeping cabins for people in transition from homelessness, and wraparound services are provided 24 hours a day.

A staff report by Paige MacWilliam, the city’s director of corporate services, last year said communities across British Columbia are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to provide the range of housing options that citizens need across the housing continuum, and that The Village is a model that successfully supports housing citizens struggling with mental health and addiction challenges. She said that since The Village began operations, it has successfully met the basic housing needs of some of the unsheltered population in the Duncan area, many of whom would not have transitioned well into a traditional supportive housing building with individual kitchen and washroom facilities in each unit.

At the meeting on May 21, Coun. Tom Duncan said he strongly supports the idea of having The Village concept incorporated into BC Housing’s continuum of housing.

RELATED STORY: PROVINCE WILL SUPPORT THE VILLAGE HOUSING PROJECT UNTIL 2027

He said he would like to see the model as part of B.C.’s supportive-housing strategy because, as one example, the city has been working with BC Housing for almost four years on its 48-unit supportive housing project at 260 White Rd., and it’s still not finished.

“Even these other buildings that are being built around town are taking two to three years to build, but to put these small villages together, I believe, takes about six months,” Duncan said.

“We’re housing about 40 people at a time, but to be able to do that, we have to convince the province that this is the route to go. We’re not getting anywhere with all these other projects. This is the only one that is showing success and has been adopted, I would say, across North America.”

Council Garry Bruce said he agrees, more of less, with supporting The Village concept.

But he said he thinks that other communities should be warned that if these types of transitional housing models are to be used by them, they should ensure that they have good management teams running them.

“If you have lousy management running these types of a housing complex, you’re ruining neighbourhoods,” Bruce said.

“But I don’t know if there’s anything that we can do to warn them.”