Kamloops, BC – The City of Kamloops is supporting BC Housing in continuing to provide urgent, temporary shelter solutions and supports at Memorial Arena for individuals experiencing homelessness. This City-owned recreation facility at 740 Victoria Street has been used as a temporary shelter facility since May 2020.
On Tuesday, July 20, 2021, Council voted unanimously in support of extending the short-term facility licence with BC Housing for temporary shelter use at Memorial Arena until an alternate shelter location is identified.
The City is actively working with BC Housing to secure a new location for shelter space. The City is also doing everything possible to provide Memorial Arena user groups with suitable alternatives, including extending the hours at other arenas and investigating using arenas in neighbouring communities, such as Logan Lake and Chase.
“We recognize the hardship this will cause for recreation groups in our community, particularly on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Ken Christian. “To return Memorial Arena to recreational use without an alternative shelter location would result in many people being displaced into unsheltered street homelessness, which is not an option.”
The 2021 Point-in-Time Count conducted on April 15 and 16, 2021, identified 222 individuals experiencing homelessness in the city. The current shelter capacity in Kamloops is 130 beds, leaving more than 90 individuals with no access to shelter on any given night.
The City has a vision for our community where housing is available and affordable to all residents. The City supports the availability of diverse housing options that enable people from all walks and stages of life to locate and secure housing that is safe, affordable, and appropriate. To that end, the City continues to work as a steward, facilitator, investor, and communicator to increase the supply and diversity of housing throughout Kamloops.