The Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness invites everyone to a panel discussion tonight in Parksville.
“It’s about looking at the solutions that we have and considering where the community should go from here,” said the task force’s Sarah Poole.
Dinner, by Parksville’s social enterprise Pie Factory, is scheduled to start the event at 4:30 p.m. for a suggested $10-$20 donation. Tickets for the dinner were limited — 20 were set aside for people who can’t afford it. It will be followed by a discussion — moderated by The NEWS’ John Harding — on a range of homelessness-related topics.
Poole said they will describe the services and success of the new Oceanside Homeless (Housing) Outreach Support Team and challenges they face to house people, the general task force progress and “we will also have a questions and ideas period at the end where we will consider where to go from here.”
She said that while there is a long way to go, there has been progress in awareness and working towards long-term housing. “A big part of the discussion is going to be making sure that we have community support to pursue a full-time shelter and supportive housing — really it’s about supportive housing.”
They will also highlight the success of the Oct. 14 homelessness health fair at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre where about 40 people without a home, or at risk of homelessness, had access to 15 services and agencies. A count in May 2013 found 67 people in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region who identified as being homeless or at-risk.
— NEWS Staff