Advocates for people experiencing homelessness have asked the city to consider allowing a temporary camp to be set up on city property.
“We know of 13 people who are homeless in Williams Lake right now,” Judy Ventry, emergency housing response team, told council and staff during the Tuesday, Nov. 24 committee of the whole meeting.
She is part of the situation table and was joined in the gallery by other members Wayne Lucier and Leah Martin from Canadian Mental Health and Chastity Blue as well as newly-elected MLA Lorne Doerkson who had attended a meeting with them about the issue.
Ventry said people are sleeping inside bank entrances, taken to the hospital or jail cells because they don’t have homes, and she asked the city to consider what Smithers did and put wall tents in a specific spot for makeshift shelters.
Ventry also said long-term the group is looking at the Stampeder Motel as a possibility for providing housing.
She outlined the story of a Williams Lake woman who became homeless. She worked at a local mine, but due to an injury became addicted to painkillers and eventually crystal meth.
The woman lost her home, her job, everything, said Ventry who was able to find her a safe place to live, but not in Williams Lake.
Ventry pointed to the example in Quesnel with its Seasons House as a possibility.
“We are pleading with you,” she told council. “We need something now.”
Mayor Walt Cobb said the city is considering allowing some of the COVID recovery money it received from the provincial government to go toward services for vulnerable people.
Council received the presentation, but did not make any decisions.