One in 11 families in the Greater Victoria Region are low-income. Housing crisis compounding pandemic pressures
Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ territories | February 16, 2021 – This Family Day, a new partnership between the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria and the United Way of Southern Vancouver Island highlights the disparity within the community and aims to find solutions through meaningful conversation.
The new program, In Pursuit of Happiness, is an ongoing community-based data and monitoring program. This data will help inform and animate local and regional policy planning.
According to the Community Social Planning Council data, 14.2 percent of all children in the Greater Victoria Region live in poverty. One in 11 families living within the Greater Victoria Region is in the low-income bracket. At the same time, rental and housing costs have increased, putting more families at risk of homelessness and making homeownership less accessible.
“With the current housing prices as they are, many households in our rent bank are paying 75 percent or more of their income on rent,” says Diana Gibson, executive director of the Community Council. “More than 30 percent of rent bank clients have children in their household, sparking us to launch this program to document these trends and ultimately build more inclusive growth. We chose to launch this week to spotlight families as the first series in our new partnership project,” Gibson concludes.
The Community Social Planning Council operates a rent bank program to provide financial assistance in the form of no-interest repayable loans to households. These loans can be used as damage deposits or first month’s rent to move to safer housing.
“We recognize that the pandemic has had a significant impact on families,” says Mark Breslauer, CEO of the United Way of Southern Vancouver Island. “Job losses, rising housing and food costs are all added stressors for local families on top of everything else. As part of our commitment to supporting local families in need, United Way is a proud partner of this project and the data it could generate to fill in the gaps in our community.”
To launch the program, Let’s Talk About Families, a discussion forum centred upon the issues at hand, will take place on Wednesday, February 16 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm PST. Significant data on the specific challenges this region’s families have faced will be released to facilitate dialogue around building better pathways to happiness and wellbeing.
For more information about the event, please visit the link here. A fact sheet “No Family Left Behind” can be downloaded at https://communitycouncil.ca/no-family-left-behind-2022/
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY SOCIAL PLANNING COUNCIL
The Community Social Planning Council is a non-profit community organization that has been leading housing and homelessness, antipoverty and broader community development initiatives across the region for over 80 years. Regional programs include Greater Victoria Rent Bank, the Low-Income Transit Assistance Program and Transportation ACES – Access, Climate and Economic Security. For more information, visit communitycouncil.ca.
ABOUT UNITED WAY SOUTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND
United Way Southern Vancouver Island (formerly United Way Greater Victoria) is a trusted leader, influencer and catalyst for change. United, we accelerate change to improve the lives of our neighbours who need it most, making our local community stronger. We believe everyone in the Greater Victoria region, which includes 13 municipalities and 11 First Nations and the Southern Gulf Islands should have the opportunity to reach their potential. Last year, we supported over 125,000 individuals on Southern Vancouver Island in building better lives. That is almost 1 in 4 people in our region being helped by a United Way initiative or funded program. Show your local love today by making a gift to United Way at www.uwsvi.ca
Diana Gibson | Community Social Planning Council
Kathryn Wu | tartanbond