September 05, 2015 - 9:30 AM
VERNON - A Vernon homeless camp has grown in the days following an eviction order at the Green Valley Motel, according to shelter workers.
Tenants had to be out of the motel by Sept. 1, and while a small number sought lodging at the Gateway Shelter, it appears others have turned to the street, John Howard Society program director Kelly Fehr says.
“There’s an area that’s notorious for a rather large campsite,” Fehr says. “I know it’s growing at this point.”
Outreach workers will monitor the situation and will conduct an annual count in October of the number of homeless people camping out in the city.
According to Fehr, only a handful of individuals from the Green Valley Motel spent their first night after being evicted at the shelter, but it was still a good thing the society brought in additional sleeping mats to meet the demand. Funded by B.C. Housing, the extra mats will be kept as long as there is a significant need for them.
“I suspect we’ll see (usage) pick up over the next month,” Fehr says.
It’s believed some tenants have refused to leave the motel, and Fehr expects more people will be looking for a place to live in the coming weeks if the landlord gets a court order to remove the remaining residents.
About half a dozen displaced residents have been in touch with the society’s housing outreach office to inquire about getting set up with safe, affordable and long-term housing, Fehr says.
The closure of the motel coincided with an announcement for a new low-income housing project at the Journey Inn, but that initiative has been in the works for years and is not intended to replace the Green Valley, Fehr says. The John Howard Society will operate the complex and screen applicants to find the right mix of tenants. There will also be building supervision and support programs in place.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015