Action Plan for Housing Supports and City Services for Sheltering in Parks

Mayor and Council recently approved an action plan addressing the needs of people without housing, and reducing impacts arising from sheltering activities in City parks.

The action plan proposes that the City facilitate alternative temporary housing options, as it will take several years to build an adequate supply of permanent housing. Two alternatives the City may facilitate are a designated temporary sheltering area, and a micro-housing village.

The Action Plan for Housing Supports and City Services for Sheltering in Parks:

  • Reaffirms the City’s commitment to a Housing First Strategy, partnering with the provincial and federal governments and housing providers to increase the supply of new housing with supports to reduce and eliminate homelessness.
  • Directs that the City continues to take on an advocacy role in pushing the provincial and federal governments to fulfill their duty to adequately fund housing, mental health and addiction services in the region.
  • Directs staff to report on a priority basis, options for increasing the supply of temporary shelter and housing options in the city, including micro-housing options based on best practices in other communities, to provide options for unregulated overnight shelter, including working with the Province to increase the number of shelter beds to 260 year-round.

 View the Action Plan for Housing Supports and City Services for Sheltering in Parks.

2015 Operational Initiatives for Managing Sheltering in Parks  

The City of Victoria is implementing a number of operational initiatives to reduce the impacts of homeless people sheltering in Victoria parks.

  •  Storage project for homeless person’s belongings – staff are looking to partner with an external service provider to operate the storage facility.

  • Additional social service outreach worker – The City will be piloting an outreach worker for a six-month period to work with people who are homeless and sheltering overnight in parks.
  • Monitoring and Clean-up – City Bylaw staff and VicPD will continue to monitor sheltering in Victoria parks with a compassionate approach. Victoria parks are not designed to be campgrounds. Only people who are homeless can overnight shelter in Victoria parks.

  • Improved washroom maintenance, hours, and the addition of sharps bins. Portable washrooms are to be brought in for some parks.

  • Improved public information – A hand-out has been developed with helpful information on sheltering in parks, expanded washroom hours, shelter bed locations, and local housing agencies. Signs have recently been installed in three Victoria parks (Beacon Hill, Stadacona and Topaz) to identify environmentally sensitive areas.
  •  Improved management of parks – New bylaws are needed to better regulate overnight sheltering in parks and where in a park this activity can occur to provide enhanced parks management. Certain types of parks or areas within parks are more susceptible to environmental damage from sheltering activities.

Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability

The City’s Strategic Plan 2015 – 2018 has 13 objectives, one of which is “Make Victoria More Affordable”.  Based on this strategic objective, the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability was appointed and has developed draft recommendations that are currently undergoing analysis by City staff.

Two public workshops are planned for the fall for City Council to review and discuss staff’s analysis, and provide further direction. Learn more.