Kamloops, BC - Homelessness Action Week is an annual event held in municipalities across BC to inform, engage, and listen to what members of our community have to say about homelessness. The City of Kamloops is one of the key partners in supporting solutions for the community; however, solutions also need to involve the federal and provincial governments and various community partners. In recognition of the need to work together, the City is partnering with BC Housing, Service Canada, and other community agencies to implement a series of options to address homelessness in our community. These options include the following:
- Extreme Weather Response Shelter at Stuart Wood Elementary School
The City is supporting the enactment of a 40-50 bed shelter to be activated during extreme weather events this winter. This temporary shelter will be 100% funded by BC Housing and will be operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association. This temporary use for Stuart Wood Elementary School does not take away from the ongoing discussion regarding the future community use of the building. Planning is still underway with multiple partners for this location; however, at this time, Council views this as an opportunity to support an immediate need and to save lives over the winter months.
- Rapid Rehousing from Homelessness Shelter Program
The City is exploring suitable locations for this temporary shelter program, which would meet some immediate housing needs until permanent options become available.
- Permanent modular housing apartments
The City is working with BC Housing to support the creation of permanent modular housing apartments on the North and South Shores. This concept is modeled after a pilot project in Vancouver and provides a quick, affordable option for permanent supported housing.
While City staff continue to work on providing housing security, they are also working with the community to start a mini-storage facility over the next few weeks for individuals who have no alternative but to carry everything they own. This facility will provide a safe place for them to store their items while they access community services.
To measure its progress toward ending homelessness, the City has historically conducted a Homeless Count during Homelessness Action Week. This year’s count will be postponed until spring to align with the national Point-in-Time count. This coordinated effort will help develop a national picture of the nature and size of our homeless population and allow Kamloops to better identify and meet the needs of these individuals.
Ending homelessness is a community effort. The City is launching a Call for Proposals for projects focused on providing Housing First programs and supports. Between now and March 31, 2109, $457,000 is available through the federal government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy, with $130,000 earmarked specifically for indigenous organizations. Details on the Call for Proposals are available at www.kamloops.ca.
Social and Community Development Supervisor