COMOX VALLEY, B.C. – A pair of advocacy groups are joining forces to educate the public about the connection between health and a lack of affordable housing.

The Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness and Comox Valley Community Health Network are hosting drop-in open houses to answer questions about how health influences housing, and how housing impacts health.

At the last Comox Valley Community Health Network forum, housing was identified as a top priority.

According to a release, “since the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness already exists in the community to plan, coordinate, recommend and implement community responses to homelessness, the two organizations have decided to collaborate and join forces to host drop-in open houses for people to learn more.”

The open houses will be hosted on Oct. 17 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Cumberland Council chambers, Oct. 18 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Lewis Centre lobby, and Oct. 25 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. in the Comox Recreation Centre lobby.

The Community Health Network, formed in 2018, brings together a wide variety of people to take action on issues that impact well-being and health in the Comox Valley.

It is a forum for the community to identify, prioritize and take collaborative action to make improvements on determinants of health, and focuses on areas for change that require the involvement of multiple people, groups and organizations to develop and implement solutions.

People are invited to stop by any of the open houses to speak to members of the health network and to learn more about who they are and what they will do to address community priorities.

The network will soon be recruiting members for a Coordinating Circle and then Action teams, so at the open houses you can sign up for more information and ways you to be involved.

“From experience, the coalition knows that many positive changes happen through collaboration and community partnerships, so we are excited to be able to work closely with the Health Network in the future,” noted coalition coordinator, Andrea Cupelli. “Please stop by an open house to learn about what the network is up to and how you can help, and then stay to share your thoughts and ideas about affordable housing needs. It is all interconnected”

Those who attend the drop-in open house are urged to have a say on one of the community’s top priorities: housing.

The coalition partnered with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability and BC Housing to provide an opportunity for residents to learn about different affordable housing types, and to express thoughts concerns, suggestions, and ask questions about affordable housing.

Lindsay McGinn, facilitator for the Comox Valley Community Health Network added, “Housing came out as one of the top priorities of the Health Network at our most recent forum. Housing is a social determinant of health and when people from all ages and stages of life are adequately housed, they are more able to fully engage in the community and feel a sense of belonging and well being.”