Community leaders in the Cowichan Valley have taken the drastic step of asking residents to write to government officials and demand action on opioids and housing.

The call comes after a meeting last month between municipal politicians, school trustees, Cowichan Tribes leadership, regional district officials and the local MLA and MP.

"Community leaders are asking for people to help by writing to the provincial and federal governments asking for them to step up and provide what local leaders already know is in great need," the group said in a joint statement Friday.

The needs range from a low-barrier homeless shelter to mental health supports, addictions treatment and supportive housing for seniors.

“We need everyone who lives in the region to reach out to the province and let them know we need support here," said Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples.

Her sentiments were echoed by North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, who said there is "considerable community frustration over both the housing situation and the mental health and opioid crisis," and added that local governments "simply don't have the capacity to deal with these things on our own."

The group plans to hold another meeting in August alongside frontline social service organizations that regularly address homelessness and addictions in the region.

"Everyone and every service is overwhelmed with need, underfunded and under attack," the group said. "Exhausted service providers need community members to ask what they can do and how they can help."