Promised day spaces on Kamloops's North Shore still aren't fully open | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Promised day spaces on Kamloops's North Shore still aren't fully open

The site of the proposed day space for the homeless on Kamloops North Shore that was set to open almost one month ago but remains shut.

Two day spaces for the homeless in Kamloops that were scheduled to be operational earlier this month are not running as planned, and the one on the North Shore, Envision, is not operating at all.

The Envision day space was scheduled to be running for four months as of the beginning of August, from its location behind the Northbridge Hotel on Tranquille Road.

Envision was to be open at 9 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. and provide homeless people with shuttle service to shelter space at night. The site was to have tables, tents and chairs set up, be run by a pair of outreach workers and provide meals, water and washroom access. 

        READ MOREKamloops residents, business owners raise concerns about new day spaces

Weeks later, its doors remain shut.

The Gathering Place is open at its location in a parking lot next to the city’s storage facility downtown at 48 West Victoria Street.

Mayor Ken Christian admitted he had heard the same thing but not from his city staff yet.

"I think the Gathering Place has started up but not in a way I envisioned it, and I think Envision is not running at all," Christian said. "These places were initially set up to help get people out of the heat and smoke, but soon they will be needed to help them get out of the rain and the cold. I have heard there have been snags somewhere, particularly with the Envision space."

Carmin Mazzotta is the Social, Housing, and Community Development Manager for the City of Kamloops.

"At this point, Envision is not yet set up," Mazzotta said. "With regards to The Gathering Place, we should be able to provide a more fulsome update on how it's going within a week or so as that was only set up recently."

The Loop non-profit organization had been providing meals and daytime shelter for those in need on the North Shore until they were deemed a nuisance property and shut down on July 22. The Loop founder, Glenn Hilke, said the city has left the North Shore with nothing for homeless people.

"For the last five weeks since The Loop was shut down, there have been no services for the homeless on our North Shore," Hilke said. "The Meal Train has been trying to fill the gaps by extending our services to three meals a day, stocking up on Covid PPE and letting people know where they can get vaccinated. We are operating out of the former Loop kitchen with former Loop volunteers. We are seeing and feeding more people than ever before, including those that are at the Gathering Place downtown, which does not appear to be providing meals or adequate support services yet. It is upsetting there is a massive lack of support services and lack of transparency from the City in regard to the Envision day space not opening."

Tanya Spahmann sits on the board of the Covid Meal Train and was an active member of The Loop.

"Envision is a bust," she said. "The City and (Canadian Mental Health Association) were premature in announcing Envision the day after suddenly shutting the Loop. Now there are no meals, services or toilets on the North Shore at all now that The Loop is closed. Only the Kamloops Covid Meal Train is providing food security and ironically running out of the Loop and by the people who run the Loop. The Meal Train is feeding the city's homeless while the city cuts services. There is once again no transition plan, plan B or plan for a (North Shore) shelter."

Alfred Achoba, Executive Director at Canadian Mental Health Association who is helping coordinate the Envision day space, was not available for comment.

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