PHC allotted $8,000 from $196K VIHA homelessness grant
Gabriola’s People for a Healthy Community was among eight organizations chosen to receive funds from a grant given by way of the Regional District of Nanaimo and the City of Nanaimo for addressing homelessness.
In 2012 the Vancouver Island Health Authority provided funding to communities across Vancouver Island to address the issue of homelessness.
The Regional District of Nanaimo received funding and allocated $196,000 to the City of Nanaimo.
Gabriola’s PHC will receive $8,000 of that funding.
Kathryn Molloy, executive director for PHC said, “our program is specifically about linking landlords and tenants.”
She explaind PHC is developing a database of sympathetic landlords who are interested in housing Gabriolans.
“It is Gabriolans housing Gabriolans. It is not about bringing new people to the island, it is about housing people here.
“Seniors, single moms, single dads and individuals who are in need of housing.”
She said in addition to building the database, PHC will be working with the Ready to Rent program out of Victoria so that those in need of housing are able to get a certificate showing they are good renters.
“Plus we’ll be working with people to help them be good tenants.
“We realize some landlords will find this hard to believe. Sometimes people are afraid to rent their homes in the past because of the damage which had done in the past.
“I’ve personally experienced that. As a landlord I understand. It is not fun when [the home being damaged] happens to you. I have had people call and say they would rent a place out but the place gets wrecked. That’s how we came up with this program.
“This is our way to make sure rental housing does not get trashed and people are living in safe and legal affordable housing.”
Along with the money from the RDN and VIHA, PHC has received an additional $10,000 from the Real Estate Foundation of BC to put towards the program linking landlords and tenants.
$3,500 of the VIHA/RDN funds are going to be used to build an emergency fund that will:
1) ensure the safety of those who are absolutely homeless;
2) provide emergency shelter for the absolutely homeless;
3) provide food supplements beyond the food bank and Soup Socials to absolute homeless.
Kathryn explained what they mean by an emergency could be someone, say a mom who has suddenly become a single mom and needs a place to stay by isn’t able to put a damage deposit together.
Or someone who’s home can no longer have a wood stove because the insurance is too high, but heating by electricity in some months becomes unmanageable. Being able to step in an provide help with the bill (done directly with BC Hydro) is one way PHC can provide aid.
She said there was already a case last year of a single mom needing help with getting a home organized. A senior was also helped in the past year with a similar situation.
John Horn, social planner with the City of Nanaimo, said funding allocation was based on the amount requested, though that does turn out to be roughly proportional in terms of per capita.
“[The City] received $196,000 from the RDN, which is sort of close to $2 a head based on a City of Nanaimo population of roughly 86,000. Area B [4,045] x $2 would be roughly $8,000.
“But again, the allocation was not based on that as we responded to what was asked for.”
On Oct. 1, Nanaimo City Council approved funding allocations to eight organizations (in no particular order): the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo, the John Howard Society, Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre, Volunteer Nanaimo, 7-10 Breakfast Club, Community Kitchens, Nanaimo’s Working Group on Homelessness and PHC.
Projects funded include an emergency cold wet weather winter shelter for the homeless, a supported housing project for aboriginal young mothers, a free breakfast program, emergency dental care for homeless individuals, food and housing supports for those at risk of homelessness and a basic cooking and nutrition skills training program.
This is the second time VIHA has provided funding for combating homelessness in the area, but the first time funds have been allocated from the grant to a Gabriola organization.