Kamloops receives $1.47 million in provincial funding to support homeless | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops receives $1.47 million in provincial funding to support homeless

August 16, 2021 - 3:44 PM

A $1.47 million grant will increase security and provide training to service workers who interact with people with mental health or substance use disorders.

The City of Kamloops announced in a news release today, Aug. 16, it had received the provincial grant through the Strengthening Communities Services Program, which includes over $76 million distributed to 48 communities in B.C.

The funding, administered through the Union of B.C. Municipalities, will go toward peer-support training and employment opportunities for people with lived experience, according to the release.

"(They) will be offered work activities such as picking up litter and sharps in various Kamloops neighbourhoods. These individuals will also play a vital role in engaging with their vulnerable peers," the release reads.

Over the next year, the funding will also be used to increase security and hire additional Community Services Officers who will support neighbourhoods with high levels of vandalism.

Training to respond in a culturally safe and trauma informed manner will be provided for City employees and other emergency service workers who interact with people with mental health or substance use disorders.

“This grant funding will allow the City to work collaboratively with service providers to address challenges through a multifaceted approach over the next year," Kamloops recreation, arts and culture manager, Barbara Berger, said in the release. “COVID-19 impacts have been felt especially hard by people facing homelessness in our community. Based on consultation with community service providers, one of the most pressing issues is providing safety and security during times when shelters and community service providers are not operational, such as evenings and weekends."

Lastly, the grant will reimburse City funds that went toward health, safety and security measures involving vulnerable populations in the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the release.

A grant of $3.2 million from the same program was awarded to the City of Kelowna earlier this month. Those funds will be used to improve outdoor shelter spaces, including personal storage space, in the City's North End.

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