A group is advocating for a sanctioned homeless camp in Williams Lake. (file image)

A group is advocating for a sanctioned homeless camp in Williams Lake. (file image)

Letter: Williams Lake homeless require supports

We want a sanctioned camping space for homeless people struggling with substance use issues

Editor:

Re: Tribune article, “Williams Lake asked to accommodate homeless camp,” Thursday Nov 26, 2020

We would like to suggest the following corrections to the article in order to properly convey our requests to City Council. The small group working on this initiative have named it the Emergency Housing Response Team.

The Emergency Housing Response Team is asking for help from the City of Williams Lake in identifying a site that could operate as a sanctioned camping space for individuals who are homeless and currently living outside. The advocates have put forward a selection of sites for council to review.

A count from the Salvation Army food truck staff, on the night of Nov. 24, 2020, identified 13 individuals who stated that they planned to sleep outside that night. In early November, the salvation army food truck staff had 56 individuals utilize their homeless services which included food, sleeping bags and cold weather wares. This population of homeless individuals are unable to access the current local shelter due to a variety of reasons.

Judy Ventry pointed to Quesnel’s Seasons House shelter as a good model, which works with an Emergency Weather Response framework from BC Housing, but is not offered in the Interior Health Authority.

The Emergency Weather Response defines cold weather as below -5C, where the Cariboo Friendship Society states that they do not turn anyone away at -20C. Seasons House has an open door policy and an active harm reduction policy that focuses on working with people who are struggling with substance use issues.

People living homeless require a number of supports in conjunction with living in order to maintain successful tenancies. Williams Lake is currently experiencing a housing crisis and an all time low in vacancy rates which makes it difficult to find housing for this demographic in the open rental market.

In addition, Councilor Scott Nelson took to his Facebook page to solicit thoughts from his Facebook community. He asked if members on his page would support a ‘tent city.’ He states that it would house the “less vulnerable who are not allowed at the Salvation Army and other service providers. They are classified as high risk.”

This idea was not supported in the presentation to council, but was a personal spin off of the presentation. The demographic in question is not less vulnerable but more vulnerable than homeless individuals who can access the current shelter. Individuals are not a high risk to the community but are high risk to contract COVID-19 due to living outside and being immuno-compromised.

He closes his post with an unsupportive statement regarding how a similar effort in Smithers was unsuccessful, however with the right supports, such a project could create a place for people to receive service connection.

The City is currently working with non-profits to apply for grant money which has become available due to the pandemic and will hopefully see housing with supports for life skills in place. This will see housing built in the long-term, however, people sleeping outside need a solution for this winter.

Leah Martin, Laurel White, Wayne Lucier, Judy Ventry, Deana Conde Garza

Williams Lake

Homelesshomeless housingWilliams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake physician part of COSMIC Medical group developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File Photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Wagon visit to Lhoosk’uz (Kluskus): part four

We had arrived at this remote Southern Carrier Nation village after dark… Continue reading

Freya Cockwill, 4, Lyra Cockwill, 6, and Haylee Sigurdson, 9, had some fun designing and painting face masks during the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy’s Family Fest in January of 2020 in Williams Lake. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Watch for Tribune Reach-A-Reader edition Jan. 21

Read the Tribune newspaper on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 to learn more about CCPL and literacy

Residents are reminded to remain vigilant in following COVID-19 precautions as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Climbing COVID-19 cases prompts City of Williams Lake to increase response level

City leaders continue to press for more information from Interior Health

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Most Read