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Local organization thinks housing project is step in right direction

The coordinator of a local homelessness organization thinks the province’s housing project is a step in the right direction.

On Thursday the provincial government announced that through buying property on Braidwood Avenue, they are planning on building 60 housing units in Courtenay.

The goal of the project is to provide additional support to those affected by homelessness.

Coordinator for Comox Valley Coalition to end homelessness Dayna Forsgren says she thinks the announcement is a moment of relief.

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“It’s a moment to celebrate, those who have been involved in this have been working very hard for years to make this a reality,” said Forsgren.

“That involved a great deal of our coalition members, our last coordinator Angela Fletcher, city council and staff. A lot of work and effort has been put into this and I think it is much deserved. People deserve to have a space that is inclusive, supportive of all their needs.”

When it comes to the homelessness crisis in the Valley, Forsgren says it’s getting to a point where a lot of people feel hopeless about their situation.

In October last year, a point in time count showed the Comox Valley having the largest increase of homeless people from 132 back in 2020 to 272 in 2023.

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“Those who are most impacted are marginalized groups in our community, so I think it is important that we recognize that we need to take steps now,” said Forsgren.

“People are feeling quite tired of this situation, tired and exhausted by not having a home and feeling like second-class citizens in their community.”

She says while the province’s project is worth celebrating, there is still more work to be done to help those in need.

She suggests empowering the voices of those most impacted, recognizing and addressing the stigma and misconceptions of homelessness as a community, and to start advocating for diverse housing options.

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Forsgren adds the coalition hopes these new spaces from the province will be inclusive, safe, and supportive for the people affected by the crisis.

“It’s one step in the right direction.”

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