Kamloops residents take aim at new B.C. Housing shelter location | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops residents take aim at new B.C. Housing shelter location

Moira House, at 600 Kingston Avenue, will use modular housing units, similar to Mission Flats Manor on Mission Flats Road.

A new temporary housing facility planned near Halston Bridge in Kamloops is much needed, but its future neighbours are concerned that there was no consultation ahead of the decision.

Dennis Hayes lives in the Westmount area, near the future site of Moira House, and he has been meeting with other community members in the last two weeks and making the City of Kamloops aware of their concerns.

"People in my community are good, community-oriented people," he said. "It's not like we're a bunch of NIMBYs. We want to support everybody."

Hayes said he would be more likely to support Moira House in that neighbourhood if B.C. Housing presented data that showed the clients in that type of facility moved on into more permanent housing regularly, found employment or addictions recovery, but he has not seen that data.

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Moira House is set to be operated by Canadian Mental Health Association once it's open, which won't happen until early 2022, according to the announcement from B.C. Housing.

It will have 40 beds on a city-owned vacant lot at 600 Kingston Avenue with a three-year lease. B.C. Housing has the option to extend that lease for up to two more years.

Moira House will be constructed with modular housing units, similar to Mission Flats Manor, in order to shorten construction time.

Hayes said he has learned that Moira House will have one safe injection room inside, but residents do not have safe supplies provided for them.

That leaves him concerned about drug trafficking on Kingston Avenue.

READ MORE: Costly legal battle with province over Penticton shelter does nothing to help homeless

"(B.C. Housing) put out that announcement publicly, then they sent out notices. One thing they said is there will be an information meeting, but I suspect ground will be broken before the meeting," he said.

While talking with business people in the area and with his neighbours, he penned a letter for Kamloops City Hall, where he pleaded with the City to deny B.C. Housing from building Moira House on Kingston Avenue.

"They can begin by taking responsibility, stopping their subterfuge and finger-pointing, and standing up to B.C. Housing and saying 'no' to the construction of the shelter on Kingston Avenue," the letter reads, which holds up Penticton as an example to stand against B.C. Housing.

Hayes did not, however, propose an alternative location for Moira House to be built.

READ MORE: Penticton comes to terms with B.C. Housing on 54-unit housing with focus on recovery

"People here recognize we have at-risk people in our community. We want to help these people. We want to work collaboratively, and we weren't given that opportunity," Hayes said.

Two other shelters were announced with Moira House when B.C. Housing said it would build the modular housing complex on Kingston Avenue.

The Memorial Arena shelter space is having its operations moved to the former Greyhound bus station on Notre Dame, while Stuart Wood Elementary will serve as a temporary winter shelter, all of which will be operated by CMHA Kamloops.

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