Mr. Speaker, with a high today of four degrees, a low of minus one and a chance of rain turning to snow tonight, it is normal weather for the Comox Valley this time of year. It is winter after all, no worries unless one is homeless.
If people are homeless in the Comox Valley, they are making do the same as the homeless elsewhere. If there is room in the local 17-bed shelter, people may be using one of three shelter nights allowed per month. They may be couch surfing, sleeping in the car or sleeping in a tent provided by the Salvation Army.
Affordable housing is scarce and the competition for what does exist is fierce.
There are over 10,500 homeless people in B.C. today, according to a recent survey of 60 B.C. cities by the B.C. NDP homelessness critic, proving that homelessness is not just a bit city problem.
A 0.5% vacancy rate in Courtenay means that people spend far too much of their income on rent for unsafe and unhealthy living conditions and many are left out in the cold, literally.
When will the government recognize the housing crisis in this country and adopt a national housing strategy and show it values all its citizens enough to ensure that they can live in dignity and be nurtured in the emotional and physical safety provided by a home?