Time for supportive housing opponents to lobby the province for addiction funding, Kelowna councillor says - InfoNews

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Time for supportive housing opponents to lobby the province for addiction funding, Kelowna councillor says

Artist rendering of the Agassiz supportive housing project in Kelowna.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna
June 24, 2019 - 2:39 PM

KELOWNA - Kelowna city councillor Loyal Wooldridge has called for the end to partisan politics when it comes to supportive housing.

Wooldridge made his comments during Kelowna city council's final approval of rezoning and the development permit for the Agassiz Road supportive housing project today, June 24.

"We have to put partisan politics aside to work together for long term solutions," he said. "We cannot fund programs when one government is in power and defund them when another government is in power."

Last week, local MLA Norm Letnick called for a halt to such housing in Kelowna, but it goes beyond the MLA, as each new supportive housing development triggers strong public opposition, as did the Agassiz Road project.

"We won’t solve anything by name calling attacks and campaigns based on shame and social division," Wooldridge said. "Signs calling people junkies and comments saying we should put bullets in homeless peoples’ heads is not achieving solutions for anyone."

What is lacking in attempts to solve the homelessness problems is the "wrap-around" supports needed to help people battle their addictions, Wooldridge said, calling on opponents to direct their efforts towards lobbying the provincial government in order to get them to fund more addiction services.

The way is now cleared for construction of the 52-unit, four storey Agassiz Road supportive housing project to begin.

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