A solutions-based dialogue on housing issues will take place in Corner Brook on Wednesday.
Hosted by the Corner Brook Status of Women Council, the Community Mental Health Initiative, the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and Homelessness Network, and the Western Regional Wellness Coalition, the event will bring together social service providers, experiential people, government agencies and the public to engage in a solutions-based discussion about homelessness in the region.
A news release issued by the groups said homelessness is not relegated to larger cities and also exists in rural communities, and people experiencing homelessness are often hidden.
In this region, the release said, people often live in family homes, on friends’ couches or in city parks, or can’t afford to pay their rent despite holding a job or two. There are also women who are housed in a women’s shelter to get away from abuse.
“There’s a lot going against someone who’s looking for housing here,” Jade Kearley, executive director of the Community Mental Health Initiative, stated in the release.
For one, she said, the available options are limited and, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the city’s rental market vacancy rate is at zero.
Kearley said another problem is that the housing options that are available are not affordable and some landlords don’t want to rent to someone who is on income support or who may have health issues.
She said many individuals who are in receipt of income support or may be on a fixed income often have to live in areas that are not suitable for them, like boarding houses, where their living space can negatively affect their mental health.
“Unfortunately, that’s where we are in Corner Brook, is that there are very few affordable places to rent.”
Those who gather for the dialogue will look at service gaps for those seeking housing and the effects those gaps can have on people. They will also look at how more awareness and support for solutions to the housing crisis can be created.
The dialogue will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Club 64 on Broadway.
Registration forms can be picked up at the Corner Brook Women’s Centre at 2 Carmen Ave., or requested via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.