The Municipality of North Cowichan is looking for an eight-month extension on the grant funding for the Village project for homeless people at 610 Trunk Rd. in Duncan.
At its meeting on Aug. 17, North Cowichan council voted to request for the extension from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities on the $2.5-million Strengthening Communities’ Services grant funding received for the Cowichan Housing Association’s Village project earlier this year.
North Cowichan was the lead municipality in submitting the regional grant application for the Village project last year on behalf of the CHA and other partner organizations to the UBCM.
Talitha Soldera, North Cowichan’s finance director, said that due to a short delay in the full start-up of the project, and the achievement of some operational savings, the CHA has not fully spent the grant funding and is seeking an extension to the timeline, a one-year period set to end by Sept. 30, in which the grant funds must be spent.
She said the City of Duncan has granted another eight-month temporary-use permit to the CHA for the Village at its council meeting in August, and the CHA is requesting an extension to the grant timelines to match it.
“During these eight months, [the CHA] will be looking for a more permanent site for the project, or a transition for the residents to alternative housing,” Soldera said.
“CHA is seeking funding from BC Housing to cover some of the costs of the project extension which would not be covered by the Village grant funding, and are optimistic given the success of the project to date. To date 75 per cent of the grant funding has been received and transferred to CHA. The remainder of the funding will not be provided until a final report has been submitted and approved. However, without an extension, the successful program will come to an end in September and the approved funding will not be fully spent.”
Soldera said the Village project has been very successful, providing housing and wraparound services to 34 people in the region.
“Continuing with the program while a more permanent location or alternative arrangements can be found is consistent with the goals and objectives of council’s Safer Community Plan,” she said.
Coun. Kate Marsh said she finds it amazing to read about the success of the Village site and the difference it has made for people who previously had no roofs over their heads.
“For me, it’s a testament to the chapter in our new official community plan that we just passed that says we don’t want to leave people behind,” she said.
“I’m really proud of the leadership team [at the Village], the CHA and all the people involved in getting this done, and I hope we can have more of these kinds of things.”