Volunteers at the 2008 Kamloops Homeless Count
A lot of great work has been put into a process to develop a plan to end homelessness in Kamloops. Sponsored by Changing the Face of Poverty and coordinated through the United Way, the plan development involved many community representatives from virtually all areas.
A lot of people attended the forum on the plan last night. I was really heartened to see Jason Fawcett from the Kelson Group, the city's largest landlord, speak about the innovating programs and the challenges in housing people who are formely homeless and may have addiction and mental health issues. A great number of city councillors and staff attended, as well as representatives from our MLAs and MP.
It was also wonderful to see a recognition from social agencies that they should be cooperating more and better sharing information. I think this situation has improved over the 4 or 5 years I have been paying attention, so there already good partnerships upon which to build.
Kamloops Daily News summary of the plan:
1. Establish a local housing board to assess the problem, enhance the stock of acceptable housing and respond to market changes.
2. Provide greater housing stability and reduce evictions through housing support agreements and a homeless resident program.
3. Connect people with the help they need (improve outreach and adopt a network approach to support services).
4. Build basic skills needed to maintain housing and financial independence (improve access to life skills coaching).
5. Improve fairness, accessibility and responsiveness (create changes to laws, procedures, regulations and protocols).
6. Help people find and maintain employment.