New management position in Kamloops created to address housing, social services | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New management position in Kamloops created to address housing, social services

City council approved the new position to address their ongoing direction of tackling homelessness and the drug crisis.
March 02, 2021 - 2:01 PM

The City of Kamloops is introducing a new management position to deal with social issues and affordable housing.

The new manager will be in charge of housing, community development and emergency support services, according to a City of Kamloops media release.

A key role for the social and housing manager will be to work with "community partners" to provide wrap-around services, the City says. Something councillors have said to be lacking in the community.

The new position was not introduced in the 2021 budget, as would normally be the case, but after it was recently proposed, council decided to fast-track the new hiring, CAO David Trawin says.

"After the community and protective services department finished their one, three and five year plans to handle emergent social issues, it was determined that another management position would be needed to coordinate services from the variety of agencies working with the city due to an increased workload," Trawin says.

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

He says since the council has moved their focus into tackling homelessness and the drug crisis, the new manager will be in place to work with agencies like BC Housing, Interior Health and RCMP to determine how best to focus their efforts.

Councillors have suggested that providing these services can be a sort of balancing act, so the hope is to use Kamloops tax dollars to coordinate provincial services rather than take them on.

The social and housing manager will cost taxpayers an estimated $140,000 in salary plus benefits, he says.

"It was not written in the budget this year, so we are not increasing the budget for 2021. The position will be filled with vacancies and included in the 2022 budget," Trawin says. Vacancies are the funds that are left over when employees leave or retire and are then rolled into a fund for later use.

READ MORE: January illicit drug deaths double in Interior Health region

This new position comes as Kamloops council prepares to hold a special meeting this afternoon, March 2, to discuss motions on dealing with social issues on the streets.

The meeting will include a wide ranging motion from councillor Bill Sarai to address security concerns downtown and the Tranquille corridor, and review outcomes of individual outcomes at current supportive housing facilities.

Councillor Dale Bass will also be presenting a motion to add more washroom facilities downtown and "day-time" space, but locations are not yet indicated in the motion.

Many councillors have expressed frustration over a lack of coordination with outside agencies in providing wrap-around services in Kamloops. 

While the social and housing management position have not been discussed in open council, it is expected to come up at this afternoon's meeting.

The new management position will work under the new community and protective services department, run by Byron McCorkell. According to the media release, the aim is to fill the position by spring 2021.

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