Rapid Relief Fund helps vulnerable in Cowichan Valley

Donate online at RapidReliefFund.ca. More options below.  

An influx of money to the Cowichan Valley from the Rapid Relief Fund is setting the stage for getting people out of tents and other shelters and into more secure housing.

A disbursement of $220,000 from the fund was announced a week and a half ago, and has now been bolstered by $172,000 from B.C. Housing.

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The money will pay for Phase 1 of a community-emergency response overseen by the COVID-19 Vulnerable Population Cowichan Task Force.

Phase 2, which begins June 30, has a goal of providing permanent and supported-housing options.

John Horn, of the Cowichan Housing Association, who chairs the task force, said funds will first be used to create temporary accommodation for the homeless.

That includes services such as peer supports, site maintenance, cleaning, laundry, security, portable washrooms and hand-washing stations.

“This supports the provincial mandate to provide shelter-in-place options in order to adhere to social-distancing guidelines and keep people safe,” Horn said.

Housing will come in a variety of forms, including “family-cluster” tenting sites limited to 12 people.

Money from the Rapid Relief Fund has also allowed the task force to include hotel rooms in the initiative, and to have more funding for such essentials as outreach workers and food.

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples said the fund has helped unite the more than 17 groups working on the community effort.

“Because of the funding, the community has been able to come together to have conversations to decide where the funding is needed.

“Everybody’s working really closely together to make sure that the needs are being met in the community for a broad variety of people — from extraordinarily vulnerable people to people who need to have food to feed their families.

“They may have a house over their head and be secure that way, but they don’t have enough to purchase food.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com

HOW TO DONATE

Tax receipts will be issued. If you are open to receiving your tax receipt by PDF, please include an email address with your donation.

• Online: RapidReliefFund.ca

• Phone: 250-381-5532

• Mail: Send cheques (made out to the Victoria Foundation) to RapidRelief Fund, Victoria Foundation, 200-703 Broughton St., Victoria V8W 1E2.

The Rapid Relief Fund was created by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation and the Times Colonist to help people in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHEK Television, Coast Outdoor Advertising and Black Press are helping to boost awareness. Every dollar received from donations goes out as grants to the community.

Donations are being distributed through the Victoria Foundation:

victoriafoundation.bc.ca/rapid-relief-fund-disbursements

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