Thursday, August 29, 2019

With fall and winter approaching ongoing housing issues will again come to the forefront of discussion

One of the units of the Crow's Nest Lodge, at 36 units it's a good 
start to the housing crisis, but the need for more
Social housing seems to grow 
by the day around Prince Rupert
( Photo from the Transition Society Facebook Page)

Last weeks deluge and cooler temperatures served to remind us that Fall and Winter will be arriving quicker than we may like and for those in the community seeking a safe and dry place to live the ongoing issue of housing in Prince Rupert will offer up some challenges.

For most that wander around town from time to time, evidence of homelessness is easy to spot with makeshift camps found in any number of locations. With those on the streets seeking out shelter from abandoned buildings in the area, under bridges or from the number of wooded areas around town.

The topic of the fate for the homeless has become a bit of a theme on some of Prince Rupert's social media feeds of Facebook in recent days and in some cases the nature of the discussion at times was harsh towards the homeless.

Something that was somewhat mis-directed, as the real discussion should be directed towards our elected officials who need to pick up the pace of addressing the issue.

Such was some of mis-information generated by the discussion that  Grainne Barthe  from the North Coast Transition Society offered some helpful clarification on the issues of homelessness in the community and what supports are currently available.

(click to enlarge)

Prince Rupert has had some success in addressing the need for more social housing, with the City working with the Province in the creation of the above noted Crow's Nest Lodge,  a successful conclusion that they should be congratulated on.

Though it should be noted that the Crow's Nest did arrive later than had been anticipated and with fewer units  (36) than previously planned for.

As well, the Third Avenue Shelter remains in operation, once described as a temporary measure to help with the transition to the new facility on Park; it has since become more or less a permanent fixture and is still providing shelter services for a large number of the homeless community.

The November 2017 announcement of the
Temporary Homeless shelter on Third Avenue West
(click to enlarge)

Some of the homeless however, whether through addictions or mental health concerns are not fitting into either of those options; as well there are others who are homeless that still prefer to find their own shelter somewhere in the city.

Adding to the housing misery in recent months has been the disappearance of some units which previously housed those on the margins of our society. Those units now are off the rental market, their future that of renovation and re-purposing it would seem.

That indicates that there is still a need, if not more of one now, for much more social housing.

As well, there is clearly a need for some kind of addictions and mental health services for this community, and the urgency does not lessen as the weeks and months pass us by.

Earlier this summer we noted that Terrace has been finding much success in accessing more Social housing with over 100 units opened this summer alone.

And with the planned expansion of Mills Memorial Hospital, some 20 beds at the new hospital will be set aside for the psychiatric care of adult patients, that Terrace hospital plan is anticipated to be in operation by 2024.

While Terrace is finding some progress on their social housing and other housing needs, like Prince Rupert the demand for help still seems to be overtaking the supply.

The housing concerns in Prince Rupert came to a boiling point back in the fall of 2017, with a Tent City taking root at City Hall to bring home the call for action from local and provincial politicians.

Hopefully, some progress is being made for the North Coast as we head into fall, and more announcements and celebrations of housing openings in Prince Rupert will take place in the very near future.

That wold offer those in the most need in the community somewhere to stay warm, dry and safe in our challenging environment and times and more importantly some proof that someone is listening and ready to take action to deliver.

For some background on how you can lend a hand towards the homeless situation in the city see the Transition Society Facebook Page.

The Prince Rupert Salvation Army also offers assistance for those in need, learn more about their work here.

For more items of note related to housing on the North Coast see our archive page here.

To view the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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