Victoria approves $300K to move more homeless into hotels
VICTORIA -- The City of Victoria has approved a motion to spend up to $300,000 to move homeless people in hotel or motel rooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The motion was tabled by Coun. Ben Isitt and Coun. Jeremy Loveday at a committee of the whole meeting Thursday.
Funding for the hotel rooms will come from a $300,000 fund that was already set aside for COVID-19 response programs.
The city says that it will search for rooms across the region and not just in Victoria to secure the most cost-efficient housing.
At the meeting, several council members voiced concerns about offering the free housing.
“Is the news going to get out, ‘Come to Victoria get a free hotel room?’” said Coun. Geoff Young, who suggested that some people may be coming to Vancouver Island to access the free housing.
The city is now looking to increase pressure on the B.C. government to organize housing solutions across the province.
Some councillors also suggested conducting a census to see how many people in Victoria are currently in need of sheltering, and how many may be coming from other regions.
While the city searches for possible hotel housing sites, public hygiene stations and washrooms will continue to be available around the clock for those living outside.
Any hotel rooms that are secured will be managed by BC Housing.
As of May 21, more than 300 people had been moved indoors from Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue.
Last week, the City of Victoria passed a motion to allow campers to stay 24/7 at permitted camping areas, like Beacon Hill Park, until June 25.