Housing will always be an issue of public concern in a winter city. Anytime a population is so dependent on shelter it becomes a topic of great importance.
Everyone hopes their home is enough shield from the elements, and is also a satisfying domain. But this is not always the case.
The Prince George Housing Coalition is opening doors to safe, affordable housing for all in the community.
It’s a year-round job that has a one week flurry of activity every fall, just as the weather turns to remind us that some people in the city do not have adequate housing.
Housing Week starts with a Community Donation Drive for the Homeless.
On October 15 the coalition will set up on the lawn of Community Foundation Park (corner of 7th & Dominion, beside the Four Seasons Pool) where they will accept donations all day long.
They are looking for businesses to send staff contributions, families to drop off hampers, individuals to box up some items and gather it all in for the homeless.
“People are in need of clothing, food and personal toiletries. We will be collecting as much of this as we can, then we will distribute it evenly to agencies that deal directly with homeless or at-risk people,” says Alice Ross, manager of the Prince George Housing Coalition.
Laura Way is the volunteer chair of the coalition. She says it is the coalition’s first priority to address the issue of homelessness. “We want to stock the shelters and food banks this year,” she says. “Lots of people go without and this helps ease that a little bit. Clothing, especially winter clothing, is always appreciated. Personal toiletries is something a lot of people forget is needed. Of course food is essential. We’re hoping people bring these items down to our collection point.”
The Community Donation Drive for the Homeless is a participatory event. Businesses are encouraged to call ahead to announce their donations will be coming, to challenge other businesses, to rally employees and clients. The more atmosphere around the event, the better for the people who will be receiving these essential articles.
Housing Week goes on, however, to a wide range of topics and issues. On October 16 they will host workshops at the Ramada Hotel on Healthy Housing and Energy Efficiency
The next day will be a workshop on downtown housing ideas. Thursday the attention turns to Residential Tenancy Act reform.
October 19 is the big finale with the presentation of community awards for Good Landlord, Good Tenant, Good Neighbour and Good Homeowner
Nominations are now being accepted for these awards, so if you know anyone fitting please visit the coalition office (#301 in the Scotiabank Building on Victoria Street).
Also on the Friday will be displays of youth poster art. The posters and awards will be part of the “Celebration of Success” Reception at YAP Friends (1148 Seventh Ave., across from City Hall) between at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
All are welcome to drop in to visit and talk to PG Housing Coalition personnel about the most pressing housing issues in the city.