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Public gets first look at details for new homeless village community

The atmosphere last night was overwhelmingly positive, when the public got a first look at plans for a new homeless village on Homewood Road.

Around 100 people came to the open house at Campbell River’s Community Centre to speak directly with local politicians, Island Health and BC Housing representatives about Hearth Village, a 40-unit community for people struggling with homelessness.

Mayor Kermit Dahl said it’s been a long time coming.

“I’m feeling excited about it,” he said. “We’ve been watching for a number of years our homeless population growing and growing, and not really any positive impacts by anything we’ve done. I’m definitely excited to see the first 40 units.”

Residents will have private dwellings and access to health care services, along with support to access recovery options. Professional staff will be on site 24-7.

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples attended, Campbell River’s village is modelled after Duncan’s successful project. She said it takes time, but already the village is changing lives in her community for the better.

“There are so many stories that literally bring tears to my eyes when I hear them, because it’s changed people’s lives who are unhoused,” she said. “People can access health services, they can get operations that they couldn’t get on the street. Meals, a safe place to stay. It’s their home.”

Staples said people should be patient while the village is established, as it takes time for people to settle into a new life, but adds improvements in her community were noticeable almost immediately. She pointed out that one in four of the people living at the Duncan facility are accessing detox and recovery services.

The city is hoping to have the first residents moved in sometime in early summer. The site is currently being prepared.

More information is available from Campbell River and BC Housing.

Campbell River Project Page

BC Housing Project Page

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