The CEOs of Our Place and the Victoria Conservatory of Music have sent an open letter to the province asking them to help with immediate action for those struggling on Pandora.
For most people living on the street along Pandora Avenue in downtown Victoria, housing is in the form of a tent that typically has to be removed every morning if bylaw officers show up.
Our Place CEO Julian Daly is extremely worried about the increased amount of people that are living in the area.
“There’s more and more people camping here and it’s become more and more normalized. We also feel that if there is to be a solution that it will take a bit of time at least six months,” said Daly. He also worries that winter is only six months away and the people on the street are already suffering right now and hopes there is a solution in place before colder temperatures arrive.
There were four main calls to action that were requested from both organizations which included stronger outreach programs, more housing, improved access to counselling and removing a small amount of people that are performing criminal activity right in front of their establishments.
The Victoria Conservatory of Music CEO Nathan Medd knows that the services they provide do not directly correlate with the problems along Pandora Avenue, but as a building beside Our Place they are compelled to help however they can.
“We see people suffering, we see crimes happening out in the open and we see people being taken advantage of and we are compelled to speak up,” said Medd.
The letter release has prompted a response from B.C.’s Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon stating that help is on the way.
“We got 45 units or supportive housing opening in the coming weeks, we’ve got an additional 50 units opening in the fall, and we are working with the City of Victoria on other creative solutions beyond the 96 units,” said Kahlon.