Statement from Mayor Helps on New Funding for Strengthening Communities in BC

City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps has released the following statement in response to today’s announcement by the Province that Victoria will receive more than $4.7 million through the Strengthening Communities’ Services Program adding capacity to address the impacts of homelessness and keep communities safe and healthy as they recover from the pandemic.

“Communities across our Province have been hard hit by the pandemic and Victoria is certainly no different. That’s why this Strengthening Communities program is so important. This funding will enable the City to continue to provide support for our vulnerable residents, as well as to the wider community, and to create a more resilient community for the future.

“I want to express my appreciation to our staff who have been working tirelessly to identify projects that will benefit our residents, minimize long term negative impacts and support our recovery and I want to thank the Province for funding these projects. Some of the projects the funding will support include:

  • A partnership with the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness to hire and train peer-support workers to help transition unsheltered people indoors.
  • A partnership with the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness to support a Registered Clinical Counselor, Street Nurse, Youth Outreach Worker and Traditional Health and Wellness Coordinator to focus on the specific needs of unsheltered Indigenous people.
  • A partnership with the Burnside Gorge Neighbourhood Association to develop three small-scale pilot projects aimed at building relationships between housed and unhoused residents, and increasing neighbourhood health and safety.
  • A partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association to pilot a Peer Assisted Crisis Team (PACT) – an alternative service to police response to 911 dispatch or crisis calls related to mental health.
  • Additional funding for bylaw and police.

“The work that the City will undertake in partnership with community organizations is bold, visionary, and in many ways centers on the lived experiences of people experiencing homelessness. Together with the Province’s support we’re building an inclusive community where everyone has access to the housing and supports they need.”