Image: Yates Street ( @arobphoto / Instagram)

Our faith in humanity may have just been restored! In a highly popular move, Mayor Lisa Helps and councillor Chris Coleman have put forward a motion to let people sleep in their cars without getting ticketed.

Currently, people are getting fined $60 – reduced to $30 if paid within 2 weeks – for sleeping in their vehicles. This has started to become a serious problem due to the ongoing housing crisis in the city.

The proposal took two factors into account – the rise in the number of tickets issued in November, which suggests that the problem isn’t driven by tourists and visitors; and the plea of one working man who contacted Lisa Helps privately through Facebook and asked if she could help him and others like him.

“The hoped for outcome is that people will be able to sleep without being ticketed AND that this will raise awareness of the need for more and more housing in Victoria. On one day in March there were only 11 apartments available for rent in the whole city,” said Helps.

The bylaw change is to stay in place for as long as the vacancy rate remains below 3% – it’s currently at 0.5%, which has clearly resulted in more and more Victorians opting to sleep in their cars and RVs.

The move, if approved, will hopefully not only help working people get a good night’s sleep, but also be a step towards acquiring more affordable housing options in the city.

The council is to deliberate on the proposal this Thursday, April 6th.

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