WATCH: The province has announced $6.5 million in new funding for 51 short-term supportive housing units for tent city residents. April Lawrence reports.
The lawyer representing tent city residents was in a Vancouver courtroom Friday, fighting an order from B.C.’s Fire Commissioner to have the place shut down.
That’s in advance of Monday’s Supreme Court hearing, where the province will seek an injunction to do the same thing.
And on Friday, the provincial government announced even more funding for new housing for the homeless campers.
The province is spending $6.5 million to buy and renovate the Super 8 motel on Douglas Street.
This fall it will provide 51 units of short-term housing for local homeless people, including tent city residents.
Homeless advocates are applauding the addition of more supportive housing.
Just last week the province announced it was spending $11 million to convert a former seniors care home on Johnson Street to 140 long-term housing units.
Since tent city was started, 370 units of transitional and shelter units have been created but some say, even more work is needed.
“The Point in Time Count listed there was 1500 people that were experiencing homeless and my thoughts go and my desire goes for all of those individuals not just the ones living in tent city,” said Charlayne Thornton-Joe, a Victoria City Councillor and member of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.
The province also announced more funding for Pacifica Housing to transition tent city residents into regular, market rentals.
“We’re getting an additional 20 subsidies which will mean we can support 20 additional homeless folks in the city of Victoria,” said Angela McNulty-Buell, Manager of Outreach for Pacifica Housing.
Pacifica has already housed at least 30 people who at one time lived in tent city.
There’s no question money is being spent, and housing is being created, but those who live at tent city say the government is missing the mark.
“It’s all band-aid stuff and it’s soft internment it is not going to solve the larger problem,” said camper Bert Woldring.
Woldring said if the province is successful next week in its bid to shut tent city down, the plan isn’t to move into the new housing, but to start another camp, somewhere else in the city.
“We have safety together, we have community together, it’s the only thing we’ve found that keeps us ahead of the wolves, and we have a right to survive.”