Victoria’s mayor was joined by her counterparts from Medicine Hat, Alberta and Eugene, Oregon tonight for a panel discussion on homelessness.
The Our Place Society sponsored event focused on strategies aimed at ending the poverty housing crisis, what solutions appear to be working and why.
The full-house at First Met United Church heard about Medicine Hat becoming the first Canadian city to eliminate homelessness.
The city’s Housing First program has found shelter for an estimated 1000 people in a city with a population of just 67,000.
“with Housing First, within 10 days of recognizing that you do not have a place to live we will find you a permanent home, not a shelter,” said Medicine Hat mayor Ted Clugston.
“The idea is you can’t solve your problems, whether it be addiction or domestic violence, from underneath a park bench, you need a roof over your head.”
Eugene, Oregon has also had success with a Housing First program and with micro-housing, a solution groups in Victoria have also been looking at.
“We’re trying some micro-housing and other village concepts to try to give people a place to be while they’re waiting to get into housing,” said Eugene mayor Kitty Pierce.
“and that’s been very successful.”
Mayor Pierce also says there has been no public safety issues associated with the project.