On Tuesday, Oct. 3, representatives from community groups, business, government, education and non-profit organizations gathered for the release of the 2017 Vital Signs report.
“Vital Signs is a community report card. It looks at our community as a place to live, work, learn and grow” explains Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson, about the report.
“It very much mirrors your own community. What’s going on? What are the top issues? And what are things that are working really well?”
Vital Signs looks at, and grades, 12 key issues, including the environment, health, recreation, transportation, and housing.
“Housing was rated a C-minus” says Don Elliot, executive director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. “And I think that really reflects the reality for so many households, so many individuals that are still struggling to maintain their housing, that are still struggling to access the necessary housing and supports.
“I think we’re making progress. I think that we are coming together as a community very effectively to better house and support individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. But I think we also still have a lot to do on homelessness prevention. I think we still have a lot of work to do to come together to better support individuals that are indigenous that are experiencing homelessness, as well as youth, as well as families.”
“I think the [Victoria] Foundation and many other organizations are working in partnership to make an improvement, but it’s just such a huge need in our community.”
Robert Bettauer, the CEO of the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence appreciates that the launch of Vital Signs brings community sectors together.
“We’re dialoguing here at this breakfast. Health is at the table. Education is at the table. Sport and recreation is at the table, and now we’re starting to strategize, ‘ok, what’s the next step? How do we collaborate to really make physical health and community health accessible for everyone?'”
And Victoria’s high cost of living is part of that conversation. Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick weighs in on that issue.
“One of the big focuses is on inclusiveness, and that is both the physical inclusiveness, to make sure our community is accessible to all whether you have a physical disability or not, but it’s also about fiscal inclusiveness.
“Many people would like to participate in physical activities and social activities, but because of lack of financial resources, or the opportunity to earn them, they’re not able to do so.
“We’ve done a great job of educating the population about what they need to do. Now we have to deliver on the promise. In other words, making these available, but at a cost everyone can afford, so that they can take advantage of this wonderful community.”
Click here for the full 2017 Vital Signs Report.