AVCSI looks to expand within next three years

The Alberni Valley Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness aims to expand their membership and secure more funding

The Alberni Valley Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness (AVCSI) aims to expand their membership and secure more funding within the next one to three years.

The committee prioritized a series of goals for the coming years at an AVCSI meeting late last month.

“What I wanted to do at the beginning of the year was set at least three priorities for what we want to accomplish this year and to give our coordinator (Terry Deakin) some direction,” Patty Edwards AVCSI vice-chair said.

The first goal discussed was to seek immediate funds to support staffing for AVCSI.

“I went to the regional district and got a $20,000 grant but it’s on the condition that we get matching grants, so it’s still sitting there,” Edwards said.

Only a portion of the regional district grant remains in a fund while some has been accessed as matching funds.

“I got a $10,000 grant from the (City of Port Alberni’s) seniors advisory committee… so we can access the matching funds from the regional district so that gives us $20,000,” Edwards said.  “Then I got a grant for $1,450 from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. We still have money to get matching funds for so that we can pay Terry (Deakin) for a year.”

Deakin’s one-year contract position as AVCSI coordinator began in September—a two day a week position with a yearly salary of $40,000. She is also the CEO of INEO Employment Services.

Apart from appealing to local government for funding, Edwards has been in touch with the United Way and sought additional funding proposals.

Aside from funding initiatives, the AVCSI hope to expand their membership to include more representatives from First Nations, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Ministry of Social Innovation and Social Development, corrections, business, real estate and social entrepreneurs.

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

Throughout the meeting, Edwards referred to the AVCSI Still at Home Port Alberni Homelessness Plan 2016 report when highlighting priorities.

It states that the non-profit sector has been carrying the load of the community-wide challenge surrounding homelessness and that the capacity must be increased by engaging sectors not currently involved.

The 66-page report, that can be found on the Alberni-Clayoquot Health Network website, lays out seven additional priorities for the AVCSI for the next one to three years.

In addition to planning out goals for the year, an election was held to determine who would take on the roles of chair, vice-chair and secretary/treasurer of the committee.

Pat Kermeen is the new chair, Edwards is vice-chair and Kate Walton is the secretary/treasurer.