The Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness is seeking more funding from the Town of Comox.
At the Jan.13, 2021 council meeting, council reviewed a letter from Andrea Cupelli, co-ordinator for the coalition asking the town to consider increasing their $30,000 annual contribution to $50,000 annually to be implemented in the 2021-22 fiscal year.
The CVCEH is a collection of 31 member agencies who plan, co-ordinate, recommend and implement community responses to homelessness and increasing affordable housing.
In the letter, Cupelli told council the coalition’s needs assessment for non-market housing continues to grow throughout the region, as well as within Comox.
“Additionally, the coalition anticipates the demand for affordable non-market housing to further rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.
For the 2021-22 year, the coalition is recommending that Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society be the recipient of Comox’s annual contribution to purchase a house in Comox currently occupied by a family supported by Dawn to Dawn.
Cupelli wrote that securing the house purchase prevents a family of five from being evicted into homelessness and secure some much-needed affordable housing within the town.
Coun. Nicole Minions asked if the matter is referred to the town’s budget discussions if it would align with the coalition’s budget and what they are asking for, as she noted it is the second year they sent the town a request for a funding increase.
Jordan Wall, the town’s CAO noted there is one more strategic meeting prior to the majority of budget discussions in February where the subject can be discussed.
Coun. Ken Grant suggested there may be funds that can be directed from the hotel/destination marketing tax.
“There’s an opportunity to raise that tax from two per cent to three. If they were to do that, that one per cent could go towards affordable housing that would equate in a normal year … say in 2019, about $120 to $180,000 into the affordable housing budget. There’s some hurdles that have to go on – it gets a little bit intricate – but that’s something that’s being looked into.”