Kamloops council calls for review of outcomes at local supportive housing projects | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops council calls for review of outcomes at local supportive housing projects

Kamloops is the latest Interior city to express the need for provincial agencies to review the track record at supportive housing facilities.
March 03, 2021 - 2:07 PM

Kamloops city council has decided to implement more local measures to address homelessness.

In a nearly four-hour special meeting yesterday, March 2, council decided to direct city staff to plan for more 24-hour washroom services, add nightly security to the downtown and Tranquille business districts, and create a business grant to offer a partnered surveillance program between businesses and RCMP.

"The main part for me is to enable funding to get some projects on the ground as quickly as possible," councillor Arjun Singh said during the meeting.

READ MORE: Penticton council at odds with B.C. Housing over emergency shelter

The discussion is the latest in a series of city council attempts to realize solutions for the street-involved community.

While councillors decided solutions, such as 24-hour washroom services, should come directly city taxpayers, much of the discussion centred around how to approach provincial agencies for review of current projects and to collaboration on future housing supports.

City politicians want to see the province explore the success of detox, recovery and sobering centres for the city. Because, as some of the council members see it, sufficient mental health and addictions treatment services are lacking.

"We have been trying to get something done on sobering centres, detox beds and treatment for mental health and addictions through Interior Health for a very long time now," councillor Dale Bass said. "Most recently the two MLAs met with IHA and they weren't impressed with that either."

READ MORE: Kamloops councillor proposes downtown surveillance, security but it's not enough

The motions passed will now require B.C. Housing projects in Kamloops have wrap around services, which includes nursing staff when required and periodic counselling. There will also be a request made to provincial ministries to conduct an independent review to assess the success and possible gaps in current supportive housing facilities.

Councillor Bill Sarai mentioned the audit proposal was similar to motions brought to Vernon and Penticton city councils recently, which called for an audit of their supportive housing facilities.

A study to measure the success of the supportive programs in Kamloops isn't guaranteed to be completed by the province, Mayor Ken Christian noted.

"But they can't ignore the fifth, seventh and 27th community that requests a review," he said.

The proposal in Vernon was rescinded. Penticton council, however, was in support of their request and just recently decided to shutter a 42-bed emergency shelter by the end of March.


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