A few solutions for our city’s high cost of living
Victoria is one of the most difficult cities in Canada in which to find affordable housing. Even housing initiatives built to assist those with low income do not account for those who are most in need. Citizens who struggle to maintain a job, are on income assistance, or who have low working hours — such as students — may need additional resources. In light of that, here are some resources and strategies to help attain housing, pay for expenses, and save money.
This group works in collaboration with other Victoria-based housing groups to end homelessness and the stigma surrounding it. Through the organization’s resources, they can help clients find emergency housing and need-based subsidized housing. The Cool-Aid Society also works with clients to establish survival tools and provide support through difficult periods in which the client’s housing is threatened. If a potential client gives them a call, they will arrange an intake appointment and work with them to find solutions that fit their situation. Find them at coolaid.org or at one of their 19 locations around Victoria.
UVSS Food Bank
The UVSS’s food bank is located on campus in the Student Union Building basement and is open to the community. At the food bank’s posted hours, individuals can browse for produce, grains, dairy, and other foods accessible on a case-by-case basis. The food bank is a great resource to help students and their families save a little money.
The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness works to help those struggling with homelessness to access resources and attain permanent or temporary housing. Their website, victoriahomelessness.ca, has many portals for public access, which offer tips, tricks, information, and links to housing and outreach services. It is an excellent place to start the search for housing or related resources in Victoria. The site also offers survival tips for those who find themselves homeless and without support.
Save on heat
Heating can be expensive, especially during the winter, when usage can skyrocket without residents taking notice — at least until the bill comes. Consider purchasing an inexpensive space heater which can heat rooms and hallways on a timer and provide a comfortable environment without breaking the bank. You can adjust the temperature, and the heater will often turn off when the room has reached the degree specified on the dial. This simple act can be a real penny saver, as consistently running central heating throughout the winter can create unnecessarily high expenses.
According to their website, Good Food Box is a non-profit fruit and vegetable distribution system which was started by the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group. The company offers low-cost boxes of assorted, locally sourced fruits and veggies which are available for pick-up or delivery every Wednesday. Good Food Box offers an assortment of options from $20 for ten to thirteen items to a $10 snack box with simply five or six. They provide healthy food for only a small markup, and the project prioritizes their mission of providing fresh, local produce to anyone, regardless of income level. You can order by phone or online at thegoodfoodbox.ca.
Plan G is a psychiatric medication program for low-income individuals. After clients’ applications are accepted, all psychiatric medications will be covered. Many people have to choose between rent and medicine. But with the help of Plan G, some of these people may not have to make that difficult decision any longer. Talk to your prescribing doctor for more information.
Housing in Victoria is an issue that cannot be resolved with a three-step process. Every small thing, from a bit of free food to a fewer minutes of heat use per day, can provide a boost in a difficult housing situation. One way to keep pushing forward when facing housing problems is to work with what can be accessed and use every possible resource. Hopefully, this list has provided a few new options or some good reminders of resources that can help provide that boost.