It doesn’t take much these days to be housing insecure: whether that means not being sure you can make rent, not being able to live in the community where you work, or not being able to access some of the services you need, housing insecurity can affect many and the Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness wants to hear about it.
The coalition has created a survey asking people for their personal stories and experiences when it comes to their housing. The idea is to take what people working in social services sectors often hear as “anecdotal evidence” and quantify it in the hopes of bringing more funding and assistance to the area.
“We really wanted this to be a way of people telling their stories through this survey of how they might have challenges with their housing access of with the housing that they do have, affordability, or if they’re having difficulties accessing services in the community and that sort of thing,” said Stefanie Hendrickson, coordinator for the coalition. “We hear stories… We know what’s going on, but we don’t actually have the numbers to back that up. Often, funding applications or advocacy to different levels of government or that sort of thing… it’s really helpful if you have the numbers to share.”
While there is data available for parts of the Strathcona region, there hasn’t been a comprehensive survey created to bring together information from all communities.
“For Campbell River we have some data, we have our point in time counts that look at homelessness, but what we don’t have is something both for Campbell River and the region that looks beyond Homelessness for people who might be at risk of homelessness or who might be struggling in other ways with their housing,” Hendrickson said. “This survey is to try to fill in that gap and have a bit broader of a perspective to really give us some solid data for the entire region.”
The Strathcona Regional District also recently did a regional housing needs assessment survey, which was more of a market based survey.
While the survey is also open to people who are unhoused, Hendrickson said that a large proportion of the population could benefit from answering the questions. For example, people with unaffordable housing, unconventional housing (on a boat, outbuilding, RV, couch surfing), housing that is overcrowded or otherwise does not fit their needs, and people lacking some amenities are all valuable insights to have.
“We also want to hear from those who have experienced other variables that have affected where they live. Maybe they had to move because the services that they need are not available in their community, or they have to move frequently because they can’t find long-term rentals and are living short term,” Hendrickson said. “Maybe they live in a different community than where they work because they cannot find housing where they work.”
The survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/CampbellRiverDistrict. It will be open until May 11. A report will be made public once it is complete.