Attendees at the Health Network forum break into small groups to discuss specific housing issues.

Attendees at the Health Network forum break into small groups to discuss specific housing issues.

Health Network hears final report on housing difficulties

Mount Waddington Health Network comes together to hear report on housing and homelessness needs assessment.

PORT HARDY—The Mount Waddington Health Network came together last week at Port Hardy’s Civic Centre to hear the final report on the housing and homelessness needs assessment.

The report, a year in the making, was performed through the North Island Community Services Society and takes a comprehensive look at issues affecting and influencing housing difficulties on the North Island.

The report’s executive summary explains that, with a baseline now established, the report will be used “to ensure that future planning and community development activities are driven by a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of community needs, assets and priorities.”

In monetary terms, the report will help with gaining direct and targeted investment as well as in leveraging the funds supplied to the group by VIHA. “We can take this report and show where the gaps are — it’s not just our perception,” said Alyson Hagan Johnson, MWHN co-chair and chair of the NICSS.

The report found that issues surrounding housing are complex and multi-faceted, describing the situation as “not a simple case of too many people and too few houses.”

After hearing a presentation from the report’s co-authors Valerie Nash and Annemarie Koch, attendees of the forum broke off to discuss and strategize on four major areas: affordable housing, housing at-risk youth, seniors’ housing and supportive housing for people with barriers/ disabilities.

“The report is really a good baseline for us,” said Bev Parnham, Mayor of Port Hardy and a participant in the health network. “It clearly shows each North Island community is unique and has unique needs. We’ve know for some time we need to look at housing in Port Hardy.”

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