RDN gets $340,000 grant

Homelessness Task Force receives funding from Vancouver Island Health Authority

A $340,000 Vancouver Island Health Authority grant to the Regional District of Nanaimo will likely be a big boost for the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness, though the details are still in the works.

“VIHA is pleased to  provide one-time funding grants to these local governments … to assist them with developing initiatives and strategies to address homelessness and to support healthy communities,” said VIHA Chair Don Hubbard in a news release.

“Adequate and safe housing for those who are homeless or at risk for homelessness is a key first step in providing individuals with health, mental health and/or addictions services.”

A total of $3.4 million in grants to eight Island districts were announced Thursday, ranging from $300,000 for the Comox and Strathcona districts, up to $805,000 for Alberni-Clayoquot.

The amounts are based on need and a review of resources and services within each district.

Paul Thorkelsson, RDN general manager of development services, said staff will come up with recommendations for the money through discussions with the municipalities. He said a grant of $100,000 last year was split roughly 40/60 between the north and south portions of the district and, though it will be up to the board, something similar might be done this time.

The then Parksville Task Force on Homelessness received $34,000 of that, which mostly went to the extreme weather shelter as well as a homeless count and some other services.

Representatives for the now regional Oceanside Task Force could not be reached for comment.