Kamloops, BC – The City of Kamloops is supporting two new partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous service providers to provide temporary day spaces in Kamloops for people experiencing homelessness to go during daytime hours over a period of four months through summer and fall 2021.
On the South Shore, the City will be issuing a short-term facility use permit to the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society and The Mustard Seed that will allow them to provide The Gathering Place, a day space for people experiencing homelessness, for the next four months. The new day space will be funded through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, a federal program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness. This will be an expansion of the services currently provided at Cllémentem Mini Storage at 48 Victoria Street West and fills an identified need for a day space on the South Shore in a location that will be monitored and managed by trained staff and that has additional supports within walking distance. Outreach workers from the two social agencies will provide a culturally safe space and access to information and supports. The space will be open 12:00–8:00 pm, seven days a week, and will be maintained and cleaned upon closure on a nightly basis.
On the North Shore, the City will be supporting Envision—a collaborative partnership between the Canadian Mental Health Association - Kamloops, the ASK Wellness Society, the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society, and Interior Community Services—to provide a day space for people experiencing homelessness at 346 Campbell Avenue, which is a vacant, privately owned site behind the Northbridge Hotel and Suites at 377 Tranquille Road. The location will provide privacy for clients while not directly impacting the street frontage on the Tranquille Market Corridor. The site will be open 9:00 am–9:00 pm daily for the next four months, with two outreach workers and a program coordinator on site to provide access to supports and a shuttle service offering transportation to shelters when the site closes each evening. Similar to The Gathering Place, Envision will be maintained and cleaned on a nightly basis.
The 2021 Reaching Home Point-in-Time Count conducted on April 15 and 16, 2021, identified 222 individuals as experiencing homelessness in the city. Nearly 50% of these individuals self-identified as Indigenous, which is a significant over-representation as Indigenous people comprise approximately 10% of Kamloops residents according to Census data. These collaborative programs will provide culturally safe spaces and opportunities to apply an Indigenous lens in connecting people experiencing homelessness to housing and support services.