BC Housing Announces Supportive Housing Project for Salt Spring Island

BC Housing announced through a statement on Thursday, January 20 that they have entered into a partnership with the Capital Regional District to create a new supportive housing complex on Drake Road on Salt Spring Island.

“The announcement that BC Housing is constructing and funding the operation of 28 new supported housing units is great news for the community This,” said Rob Grant, Executive Director of Salt Spring Island Community Services (SSICS). “This will improve housing stability for many individuals. A recent count by BC Housing and SSICS Housing First staff identified about 60 people requiring some level of supportive housing, so these units are very welcome and will be filled quickly.”

“SSI Community Services will do whatever we can to ensure the success of the Drake Road site,” he continued. “I am also relieved that no one currently residing at the Seabreeze will lose their housing at this time.  We thank the Lady Minto Foundation for extending the time for their vacancy requirement, and wish them good luck for a smooth and speedy development of hospital staff housing.”

The new housing project will provide up to 28 new permanent homes as well as dedicated shelter and programming space, providing housing for people living both in the temporary shelter at the Seabreeze Inne and the Emergency Shelter at SSICS’s main address on Fulford-Ganges Road according to the BC Housing website. Once the project construction is complete, the most vulnerable residents at the Seabreeze Inne and the Emergency shelter will be relocated to the new housing and both locations returned to their owners

“There are still a lot of unknowns about how this will ultimately play out and we are looking forward to more clarity,” said Grant. “The part of this plan which reduces emergency sheltering capacity in the community will be a challenge. The 2021 homelessness count identified about 150 homeless on Salt Spring, of which 100 were unsheltered and the rest were in provisional accommodation.  The emergency shelter has been at full capacity for years, and there are still many people in vehicles, camps and sleeping rough around the island.”

The Salt Spring Emergency Shelter became a full-time shelter in April of 2021.  Previous to that it had been an overnight shelter with year-round status. Between 2016 and 2019, the shelter was funded seasonally between November 1 and April 1.  Prior to 2015, the shelter was funded by BC Housing on the basis of ‘extreme weather’ only.

 “We have made good progress in reducing the day and night presence of homeless individuals in and around Ganges,” said Grant. “I hope this doesn’t reverse.  I expect that a homeless count next year will tell us a lot but we know that there is a lot of planning and work yet to do to decrease the number of people that are unsheltered.”

See the BC Housing News Release