Housing insecurity and homelessness
Even in our mountain village
This article was published on Feb, 27, 2019.
Some people think that housing insecurity and homelessness are only issues in the big city. But even here in Sorrento, a village and rural community of about 8,000 people spread throughout region C of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, we know poverty and we have a housing crisis. Fully 30% of our renter households are paying 30% or more of their income on housing, and 15% of owner households are paying 30% or more – which puts them into the danger zone for housing inaffordability. About one-in-seven households live below the Low Income Measure (one measure of household poverty). Our food bank does a brisk business.
The Sorrento Centre hosted a gathering of about two dozen community leaders from churches and community organizations, the private sector and local government to look deeply into housing and homelessness in our community. We identified at least three major groups: low-income seniors, low-income households and seasonal workers. A number of people stepped forward to create a new affordable housing society.
We will meet again at the end of February, 2019 to launch the new society, and to hear from Dawn Dunlop, head of CMHA Shuswap and a successful housing advocate. Our goal: to ensure that everyone realizes the right to healthy, safe and affordable housing. With $40 billion promised by the federal government in 2017, we are determined that some of that money, along with funds from BC Housing, are put to work in creating good homes in our community. The Sorrento Centre, as a busy conference and retreat centre, welcomes thousands of people from across Canada, the United States and beyond, annually to our events and activities.
The Sorrento Centre, as a good neighbour in the South Shuswap, is part of the movement for a vibrant and health community.