Efforts to fight crime, homelessness in Kelowna may fail without more detox spaces - InfoNews

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Efforts to fight crime, homelessness in Kelowna may fail without more detox spaces

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April 08, 2019 - 4:14 PM

KELOWNA - One of the key pieces missing in the City of Kelowna’s efforts to cut down on homelessness is treatment spaces so people can get help with their addictions as soon as they are ready.

“We have to get a lot louder with our federal and provincial partners to make sure we get that treatment started sooner rather than later,” Coun. Loyal Wooldridge told council today, April 8.

Wooldridge was responding to a massive report presented by acting director of community safety Lance Kayfish in response to a Nov. 30 report by former RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon.

While a number of efforts are underway or proposed — such as more housing for the homeless and a community court — one of the major keys to success is to have treatment facilities in place.

Before lobbying senior governments more work needs to be done on determining just what to lobby for.

Kayfish suggested the city work with the Journey Home Society, which is focussed on ending homelessness, to get the facts and figures in place before lobbying.

And there are some basic needs McKinnon suggested that the city isn’t yet ready to take any actions on, such as providing washrooms and drinking water – something Coun. Charlie Hodge called “basic needs” that the city is in a position to provide.

“I find it hard to believe we can build roads but we don’t have the ability to provide water to people and build washrooms for them,” Hodge said.

In response, Kayfish said he would be remiss in recommending a $250,000 solution to a problem that may only last a few months.

While it appears the city has a lot more work ahead of it, that doesn’t mean nothing is happening.

There are dozens of recommendations in Kayfish's report and many are already underway – such as diverting people out of the criminal justice system when appropriate and coordinating efforts by about 40 agencies and groups tackling different elements of the problem.


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