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Kamloops News

Kamloops homeless day services set to close with no promised replacement


Two day spaces in Kamloops that provide food, shelter and services are closing their doors at end of the month and hot summer temperatures are in the forecast. 

The Mustard Seed day space in downtown Kamloops and The Loop resource centre on the North Shore are closing on July 31.

The announcements of the closures were made earlier this spring, and the City of Kamloops has been looking for a site for a new Access Hub on the North Shore to provide homeless people with basic needs and services to help fill the gaps. It isn't clear when the Access Hub is set to open and so far, a site for the centre has not been chosen.

Alfred Achoba is the executive director for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Kamloops and sits on the Access Hub Committee. He said he doesn’t speak for the City.

“I can say firmly we’re looking at potential sites for the Hub but one challenge is there aren’t many buildings here you can turn into a shelter or day space,” he said. “Even when we find a possible site it’s going to take time, anywhere from 60 to 90 days to be ready.”

He said heat response for the homeless among local non-profits and the development of the Access Hub are top of mind.

“We’ve been in discussion where the city is getting all the social agencies together to prepare for the heat, although it’s another late approach, we need to be better prepared in advance,” he said. “We’ve discussed a few sites for the hub that will fit the model, even as late as today we talked about a few potential sites.”

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Achoba said BC Housing recently supplied his non-profit air conditioning units and fans.

“I think these are commitments that we’re on top of, BC Housing, the City and the local non-profits.”

On April 25, concerned members of the public gathered at The Loop resource centre to figure out how to fill in the service gaps in the meantime. 

The Kamloops Access Hub Leadership Committee formed in September 2023 to create an expanded model of shelter services with built in supports for the unhoused population and to address concerns about shelter locations coming from residents and businesses.

The location would operate 24/7 to provide basic needs and health services somewhere on the North Shore.

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“We have water and air conditioning and might set up a mister if it gets hot,” The Loop operator Glen Hilke said. “Clients are concerned about the closure, they are asking about it every day. If we have to, we’ll keep providing meals in a patchwork way but it will be here and there on different days.”

On June 24, BC Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon announced plans for affordable housing, shelter space and supportive housing on properties across the city. Over the next two years, 500 provincially-supported homes will be built in the tournament capital.

In the coming months, there'll be more details for 100 temporary housing units aimed a homeless people living in camps, coming from the same provincial funding source as Kelowna's tiny house program.

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