Kitimat Loses $85,000 in Homelessness Funding
A much-needed housing service in Kitimat has lost its funding. As a result of Budget 2016, the Rural and Remote Homelessness funding stream no longer gives priority to communities with a population of less than 25,000 - which is a priority that for the past 4 years, kept Kitimat, a community of just over 8-thousand, funded.
This year, 15 communities were awarded the Rural and Remote Homelessness Funding Stream… but Kitimat and its housing resource project didn't make the cut. This means a loss of $85,000 in funding.
The project facilitates working relations between the vulnerable population and safe, affordable rental housing situations.
"We do a lot of income assistance work...Kitimat is a unique situation.. It looks good on paper. But really, either you're making a lot of money, or you're not"
Paul Lagace, of the Kitimat Community Development Center, says that the program is vital to a community like Kitimat, whose economy fluctuates.
"The vulnerable population was forgot about, in the last boom. My co-worker here was taking people to the airport that were long-term in this community. Woman in her 70's, takes her to the airport...[She] can't afford to live here. Her rent's tripled"
Mayor Phil Germuth says the city will do everything it can to keep the project going;
"Staff will be trying to work with them any way possible to make it so we can score properly, or look for other funding opportunities… To make sure those people are taken care of. Because it is a big problem here."