Alberni homelessness committee secures funds

The Alberni Valley Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness is one step closer to funding their new coordinator.

The Alberni Valley Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness is one step closer to funding their new coordinator thanks to a $10,000 grant from the regional district.

Back in February, the stakeholders initiative chair Patty Edwards came to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District asking for a $20,000 grant to fund their newly-hired coordinator, Terry Deakin.

“The original grant-in-aid was a request for $40,000 which was a two-day-a-week salary for this contract position,” said Edwards.

At the time, the board agreed to fund up to $20,000 via a grant-in-aid providing that matching funding was secured by the stakeholders initiative.

The initiative has secured $10,000 from the City of Port Alberni’s seniors advisory committee.

“We’ve hired Terry Deakin, she’s a local person who’s just gotten her masters degree in community development from the University of Victoria,” said Edwards. Deakin is the CEO of INEO Employment Services.

Apart from appealing to local government for funding, Edwards has been in touch with the United Way and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. Funding from BC Housing is not available to pay for staffing, she added.

“But that would be part of the job—sustaining the job,” said Edwards. The one-year contract position begins in September.”

Cherry Creek director Lucas Banton expressed concern that the one-year position would remain that way and not lead to any lasting change.

“It seems like in the past I’ve seen money go out to provide wages then the person works for a bit, the money runs out and a lot of times it never gets enough traction to bring all those people together,” Banton said.

Edwards said that interest is growing in providing sustainable housing in the Port Alberni area but that a staff position to organize and facilitate is necessary.

“I have been getting calls from people who are interested if there is a social housing investment place where they can invest money in the community to provide affordable housing,” said Edwards.

“So there is the interest and potential—we just need the coordinator to bring all of the people to the table.”

Currently, the stakeholders initiative is made up of non-profits and government agency representatives.

“What we need now are developers, contractors, investors and chamber of commerce people at the table to develop proposals that go beyond what we’ve got right now. We’re at a critical time,” said Edwards.

“We have a lot of work to do.”

Edwards will work on gathering the additional $10,000 necessary for the ACRD to give the stakeholders initiative matching funding up to the total $20,000 previously authorized.

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