An eclectic property scattered with motor homes, trailers and small suites and cabins is back functioning as a safety net for those falling on hard times in the Coombs area.
Dave King, an unemployed trucker and 16-year military veteran, including time in Afghanistan, can’t say enough nice things about property owners Ken “Doc” Meuckon and his wife Lana.
King recently found himself split from his wife, without a cent to his name, trying to take care of nine St. Bernard puppies.
Doc Meukon not only gave him a place to stay, but helped with dog food and tracked down an old car to help get him back on his feet.
Kim, another resident who didn’t want her last name used, also found help after an ugly domestic situation.
“I didn’t have a dime to my name and nowhere to go, which is especially hard with two dogs and cat,” she said before lavishing the Meuckons with praise.
“Separation and divorce are a huge issue and that’s where a lot of them are coming from,” Doc said. “I’m amazed at the variety. We have ages from 16 to 60 coming in. Many are people with skills and trades. There’s some real depth to them but with the high rents around here they’ve just fallen on hard times.”
The Good Samaritans have been looking for ways to pay their good fortune back to the community for decades, especially after the support they got when a fire destroyed their home and business Dr. Leather and Mrs. Hyde in 1993.
Along with cheaper rentals they started Coombs Transitional Housing several years ago, but that stalled when the Vancouver Island Health Authority took issue with the lack of water treatment.
The couple adjusted their finances to survive without rental income and for a while focused on very short term (a few days) emergency housing for situations like fires or natural disasters.
Since then the water and swear issues have been sorted out and the property is permitted for more people than they would want.
There are currently around 14 people living there and they have space for a few more as people come and go.
Doc, a former firefighter, iridologist and manufacturer of riding leathers, among other things said they have a strict zero tolerance policy with illegal drugs, but are otherwise open to helping most people.
He admits they have had complications, people have taken advantage of them, but almost all of the 300 people he estimates they have hosted over the last 10 years have been gracious guests.
Doc — who is also eager to teach people the secrets of Reiki for free — said people in need should call them at 250-752-5520 to work out how or if they can help.