Wayne Lucier, homelessness outreach co-ordinator for Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo Chilcotin in Williams Lake stands inside his fairly empty storage container where he keeps furniture donations. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Homeless intake numbers down in Williams Lake

Canadian Mental Health Association homelessness outreach worker Wayne Lucier said he is only processing about one intake application a week.

Homelessness outreach worker Wayne Lucier said his intake numbers have dropped drastically since the summer’s wildfires.

“My client base is way, way down,” Lucier told the Tribune Tuesday. “I went from two or three intakes almost every day to about one a week right now.”

Lucier said he knows the wildfires “definitely” had an impact, but he is not sure why it has affected his services so much.

“I think some people I would normally deal with did not come back after they evacuated,” he said.

While the numbers are down, Lucier said the people he is helping find affordable housing are in more dire circumstances than he has seen in a long time.

“I think for some people, when the fires came and they left where they were living it opened up the doors for them to get away from something they did not want to be in,” he explained.

“I have been helping people involved in relationship breakups that should have been on disability a long time ago.”

In Williams Lake the biggest problem for people on low income is finding affordable housing, Lucier said.

A lot of his clients are doubling up to live in one place together to afford having a roof over their heads, but that often brings more complications with it because people are sometimes not as compatible as they thought they were.

Lucier has a shipping container behind his office at Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo Chilcotin at 51 Fourth Ave. South to collect donations for people and said as soon as he receives furniture he finds it a home with someone in need.

“I am giving it away as fast as it comes in to the people that are lucky enough to find a place to live that is affordable,” he said.

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