Kamloops missed out on $1M in grant money for homeless supports | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops missed out on $1M in grant money for homeless supports

September 27, 2021 - 6:00 AM

Kamloops received a $1.47 million provincial grant to support the local homeless population from the province, but the city could have gotten around $1.1 million more if the application had been completed correctly.

City staff had attempted to get grant money to build washroom facilities, either Portland Loos or more temporary structures, but the funding had restrictions and could not be used for projects that would carry operating costs after the funding period was over.

That part of the criteria was not clear when the application process started, according to City of Kamloops recreation, social development and culture manager, Barbara Berger.

"The minute we identified something like washrooms or infrastructure, we also wanted to look at mini storage or a shower facility on the North Shore. Because they were attached to operating costs, they were taken out of the application," Berger said at a Sept. 21 council meeting.

READ MORE: Here’s how $3.2 million will be spent on 'outdoor sheltering' in Kelowna

The grant, funded by the province, was distributed by the Union of B.C. Municipalities in varying amounts based on populations. The funding criteria could include expansions of current shelters or the creation of new shelters in existing buildings.

Kelowna, for example, used a part of its funding for temporary outdoor shelters.

Based on population, Kamloops could have received around $2.5 million.

A city could receive more with a well-detailed application, which is apparent in Kelowna as it received $3.2 million from the same fund.

The City of Kamloops announced it had received its $1.47 million grant on Aug. 16.

READ MORE: Kamloops day space for homeless not open due to threats to landlord

In an email to iNFOnews.ca, Berger said the City will use $155,000 of the grant for diversity and sensitivity training for those who deal with street-entrenched people on the job, including Community Service Officers (formerly bylaw officers).

The Community Services Officer program will get $309,000, at least part of which will be used to hire new staff.

Berger said the remaining $1 million will be for outreach work.

Without specifying how much, she previously told iNFOnews.ca that a significant portion of those funds will be used to reimburse the City for security services paid for since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

iNFOnews.ca attempted to receive a more detailed breakdown of what the $1.47 million would be used for, but City staff did not reply to those requests.

It's unclear whether City staff can reapply, but council expressed interest in attempting to retrieve the remaining $1.1 million that the City missed out on from the grant funding.

READ MORE: What a difference a year makes for the homeless in Kelowna

"Because we did not get our adequate amount... can we reapply for our missing $1.1 million and try to hit the mark on the application mark?" Coun. Denis Walsh said. "I know they have closing dates but they also have a budget that's sitting there with $1.1 million that didn't get distributed."

Berger said staff could explore a reapplication process, but was unsure if it was still possible.

The grant application explains what costs are not eligible, including any capital expenses to improve existing buildings or build new facilities.

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