Victoria park campers nearly double from last year


WATCH: New numbers show the number of people sleeping overnight in Victoria parks has nearly doubled from last year. Calvin To reports.

New numbers from the City of Victoria show the number of people sleeping overnight in city parks has nearly doubled from last year. 

A city spokesperson told CHEK News that 276 people spent the night in city parks in April 2016, compared to 536 in April 2017.

This, despite millions spent on the creation of hundreds of new housing units after the dismantling of tent city.

“The real problem that no one looks at is that between 1982 and 2012, there was not one purpose-built rental building built in Victoria,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said. “So, we’ve got a

“So, we’ve got a 30-year gap that we’re trying to catch up with.”

A Regional Housing First Strategy aims to provide 880 housing units over the next five years at a cost of $60 million, which is being split evenly by the Capital Regional District and the province.

Helps said the city is waiting to hear about another $30 million from the federal government which would be enough to increase the number of housing units to nearly 1400 and provide a place to stay for every homeless person in Greater Victoria. 

Garth Blakely is one of Victoria’s newest homeless people. 

He moved to the city from Vernon, B.C. last year for a new job.

Months after arriving, he was let go, and soon after that lost his car and home.

He said life is difficult for those on the street.

“Constantly getting robbed by other homeless people is a real problem,” Blakely says. “Anything that isn’t basically tied to you while you’re sleeping is going to disappear.”

“Anything that isn’t basically tied to you while you’re sleeping is going to disappear.”

Homeless advocates are now calling for more couples and sober housing as well storage for the homeless.

“We lump everyone into housing, but really we need a large variety of housing,” Our Place’s director of communications Grant McKenzie said.

 “So, if people don’t feel adequately housed or they don’t feel safe, they might return to the parks.”


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