The critical role of social planning in creating sustainable and vibrant communities cannot be overstated. As such, I am pleased to share important updates from the Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) regarding our efforts towards achieving more just and equitable communities in Greater Victoria. Our recent activities include addressing issues related to homelessness, gender equity, and housing affordability across the region.
We recently conducted a bi-annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count and Survey in partnership with the Capital Regional District (CRD) and the Alliance to End Homelessness in the Capital Region. We'd like to say a special thank you to the participants who came forward to share their stories and for their patience with the surveyors. We are thrilled to have had over 200 volunteers working in the HQ and on route throughout the region. Thank you to all of those who sponsored and funded this years count and survey, your dedication to the community is admirable! The survey findings in July will inform plans for both short and long-term solutions to homelessness.
On International Women's Day, we reflected on the ongoing gender pay gap in the CRD, which is not only important for gender equity (SDG 5), but also for promoting economic growth and reducing inequality (SDG 8). To raise awareness and encourage action, CSPC shared a fact sheet on the gender pay gap in the CRD that highlights key strategies and policies that can help achieve gender equity in the workplace.
On March 6, 2023, the CSPC and City of Colwood hosted Councillor Learning Session: Municipal Levers for Housing Affordability with Brent Toderian as a keynote speaker to emphasize the importance of building complete neighborhoods that support affordability. The event is part of the Regional Housing Affordability Project which supported the creation of a community of practice to share local learning and best practices, compiling local policies and practices, and engaging with municipal, business, and community partners. In phase two, the City of Colwood plans to expand the project's toolkit, update housing needs reports, and continue offering regional workshops. The Regional Housing Affordability Project aims to create more just and equitable communities, contributing to larger efforts to create a better city for everyone across municipal boundaries.
Although these are positive steps, there is still much to do. Looking ahead, we have several upcoming events that focus on important issues related to social planning and equity. On April 18, we are hosting a webinar titled "Revitalizing Downtown Spaces in a Hybrid Work Environment." This event will bring together experts, community members, and decision-makers to discuss the future of downtown spaces in light of changing work patterns.
On April 25, we are hosting a workshop titled "Family By Design: Designing Cities for Families". The workshop will focus on strategies for building better family environments throughout the region.
Finally, on May 2, we are hosting a lunch and learn titled "Homelessness, Housing, and Human Rights: A look at Housing First Approach”. We will highlight data from cities such as Helsinki where they have utilized a housing first approach to effectively reduce homelessness and build thriving communities for their residents.
It is important to align our efforts towards creating more just and equitable communities with the global goals for sustainable development. Proper social planning is crucial in achieving our community goals and ensuring a better future for everyone. As we work towards these goals locally, we must remember that they are interconnected with larger provincial, federal, and global efforts to create a better world for all. Let's continue to promote social inclusion, advocate for fair pay practices, and support affordable housing to create sustainable and vibrant communities that contribute to a larger global effort. Stay updated on our efforts and upcoming events by following the CSPC's social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Join us in spreading awareness about the importance of these issues by sharing this with your friends and family.
Published: March 10, 2023
Diana Gibson, Executive Director