People who have lived in Victoria for at least a year should be prioritized for housing, says Victoria council.
The motion that passed unanimously at last week’s committee of the whole meeting draws on data from the 2020 Greater Victoria Point in Time homeless count which found that the majority of respondents have lived in the area for over a year.
The PiT count found that 82 per cent of people who were surveyed lived in the area longer than one year, with 42 per cent living in the region for five years and 22 per cent residing in Greater Victoria for their entire lives.
Coun. Charlayne Thronton-Joe said there have been concerns about people moving to the region due to mild climate and the availability of places to camp, but the PiT count eradicated that myth.
Currently, the regional Coordinated Assessment and Access (CAA) prioritize people who are Indigenous, over the age of 55 and who are experiencing chronic homelessness.
While council has no control over the CAA, it is able to make recommendations based on current data. Council is recommending Indigenous priority should remain, but the age priority should be broadened to reflect the results from the PiT count, which found 70 per cent of people experiencing homelessness are between the ages of 25 to 54.
The CAA does not currently have a residency requirement, but several other municipalities on the Island do. Parksville prioritizes people who have lived in the area for at least a year, while Courtenay uses a three or more years time frame.