Kamloops, BC – The City of Kamloops is the recipient of a $1,469,633 grant through the Strengthening Communities Services Program to support people in Kamloops who are facing homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program, which is administered through the Union of BC Municipalities on behalf of the Province, is investing more than $76 million in outreach projects, temporary shelters, and mental health supports for people experiencing homelessness.
“COVID-19 impacts have been felt especially hard by people facing homelessness in our community. Based on consultation with community service providers, one of the most pressing issues is providing safety and security during times when shelters and community service providers are not operational, such as evenings and weekends,” said Barbara Berger, the City’s Recreation, Arts, and Culture Manager. “This grant funding will allow the City to work collaboratively with service providers to address challenges through a multifaceted approach over the next year.”
Funding will go towards implementing peer-support training and employment opportunities for people with lived experience who will be offered work activities such as picking up litter and sharps in various Kamloops neighbourhoods. These individuals will also play a vital role in engaging with their vulnerable peers. The initiative builds on a similar successful program that was delivered in 2019 and 2020 and supports the best practices in harm deduction.
Additionally, grant funds will be allocated over the next year towards:
- increasing security and hiring additional Community Services Officers to support neighbourhoods that have experienced higher levels of vandalism
- training City representatives and other emergency and enforcement service providers who regularly interact with people experiencing mental health or substance use disorders, with a focus on providing culturally safe and trauma-informed responses
- reimbursing funds distributed by the City during the first several months of the pandemic to provide increased health, safety, and security measures involving vulnerable populations
Kamloops was one of 48 BC communities that will benefit from the funding, which was made available through the federal and provincial governments. The program is investing more than $76 million in projects, such as outreach and mental health supports, and expanding or creating new temporary spaces for people experiencing homelessness.