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Duncan homeless village success inspires similar project in Campbell River

Duncan’s Hearth Village is inspiring other Island towns to create safe communities for people experiencing homelessness.

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples visited Campbell River this week, which is building its own village, using the same model. She says in her community, the village is saving lives.

“There are so many stories that literally bring tears to my eyes when I hear them, because it’s changed people’s lives who are unhoused,” she said. “People can access health services, they can get operations that they couldn’t get on the street. Meals, a safe place to stay. It’s their home.”

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Around 100 people including Staples came to an open house in Campbell River to speak with local politicians, Island Health and BC Housing representatives about the project. It will create 40 private dwellings and give residents access to 24-7 supervision and health care.

Mayor Kermit Dahl said it’s been a long time coming.

“I’m feeling excited about it,” he said. “We’ve been watching for a number of years our homeless population growing and growing, and not really any positive impacts by anything we’ve done. I’m definitely excited to see the first 40 units.”

Staples says people should be patient while the village is established, as it takes time for people to settle into a new life, but adds improvements in her community were noticeable almost immediately. She pointed out that one in four of the people living at the Duncan facility are accessing detox and recovery services.

The city is hoping to have the first residents moved in sometime in early summer. The site is currently being prepared.

More information is available from Campbell River and BC Housing.

Campbell River Project Page

BC Housing Project Page

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