Everyone deserves help during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s the approach the city of Courtenay is taking when it comes to the homeless population.

Courtenay Councillor Doug Hillian put forward a resolution during Monday’s council meeting explaining the city should work with the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness to ask the province for funding.

He says it’s been a talking point for a while now and being able to submit a letter to province might speed up the process.

“It’s come up at every briefing of the Emergency Operations Center; whether or not there is a provincial plan coming.”

“We’ve seen planning take place in our larger urban centers and we have the sense that maybe something is coming, but perhaps we could help move that process along by using the documentation that the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness Society has in presenting a specific proposal to the province, that would indicate both the numbers that we would potentially be looking at housing and the facilities, private, public or otherwise that we might be able to use.”

Courtenay CAO David Allan said if everything goes to plan and the homeless are able to stay somewhere, there are still a few issues specific to the pandemic that would have to be addressed.

“There is no power to enforce people to self isolate even if they’ve tested positive so that’s something that I found quite surprising. We need to keep that in mind,” Allan said.

“The other thing is that funding right now – and this could chance – is only committed until the end of June of this year. So June 30th is when current provincial funding goes to, so we need to be mindful of that.”

Allan also said that after speaking with a representative from BC Housing, working with the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness Society could help the valley’s chances of getting support from the province.

“She mentioned there are current vacancies in the shelter spaces that are available in the valley so that’s also one of the things they look at, too. The flip side of that is that by demonstrating the political will to move forward providing some supports, I think that puts the city in a better position.”

Courtenay council voted unanimously to work with the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness Society to present a letter and a plan to the provincial government to help support the valley’s homeless population.