Pop up homeless camp in Kelowna becoming a nuisance to nearby residents | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Pop up homeless camp in Kelowna becoming a nuisance to nearby residents

Homeless camp set up at the back of Canadian Mental Health Association in Kelowna -- just 40 feet from Gordon Kaltenhauser's property.

Gordon Kaltenhauser says he is at his wits end and is running out of options in dealing with a homeless camp that keeps popping up behind his home. 

His house is located directly behind the Canadian Mental Health Association on Sutherland Avenue near Pandosy St. in Kelowna where the homeless regularly set up camp -- particularly on the weekends when the association is closed.  

"Typically they show up on the weekend because they know that there's not going to be anyone there to bother them," Kaltenhauser said. 

He's called by-law, but to no avail.

"Their take on this is, 'sorry we can't doing anything about it because the camp is on private property and you'll have to call the RCMP,'" Kaltenhauser said. "I call the RCMP and it's the same thing, unless you're the property owner, there's nothing we can do about it."   

Meanwhile, things have been disappearing from Kaltenhauser's property. 

"I got broken into twice and had several thousand dollars in tools go for a walk. Just recently I had a 24-foot extension ladder that grew legs overnight."

Then his rototiller vanished.

"How the hell does a rototiller at two or three o'clock in the morning grow legs? Did someone not notice that thing going down the back alley?" 

Kaltenhauser doesn't blame the mental health association. 

"They've had enough of it," he said.  

The mental health association said it's doing everything it can but its hands are tied. 

"Unfortunately, in the absence of an adequate supply of shelter beds and housing, there are individuals sleeping outdoors across the city each evening, including outside of our building," Executive Director Mike Gawliuk said.

He adds that ordering the homeless to move along is not the answer.  

"Our staff, including our outreach services team, engage with these individuals on a daily basis to build relationships and attempt to connect them with services, including encouraging them to use the city-designated outdoor camping site, as opposed to simply moving them down the street to another property."

In the meantime, Kaltenhauser has installed expensive security cameras on his property and counts the days as the weekend approaches. 

"I haven't got an answer and I'd love to hear one," he said. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kelly Hayes or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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