Christopher Bocskei is a long-time Rutland resident against the 49-unit McCurdy Road supportive housing development. (Laryn Gilmour - Capital News)

Ex-homeless Rutland man says supportive housing too close to schools

Despite personal experiences with drugs, homelessness, one Kelowna resident says no to McCurdy site

Christopher Bocskei is a long-time resident of the Rutland community who is dead set against a “wet” facility being built on the corner of McCurdy Road, despite his own experiences with homelessness.

Bocskei said he didn’t have the best relationship with his father when he was young and was “invited to leave home.”

Bocskei found himself living on the streets and turning to the drug culture.

READ MORE: Petition started in protest of Kelowna’s McCurdy Road supportive housing

READ MORE: Rutland community rallies against McCurdy house

“I spent about a year and a half on the street and ended up in the hospital for a month and a half after overdosing on some drugs that we made,” he said.

He’s been living in Rutland for around two decades now and is raising his children in what he calls a family-oriented community.

He spends his spare time coaching, working in the community garden and giving back to his neighbourhood.

“We absolutely need these facilities,” he said about BC Housing’s “wet” facility slotted for McCurdy Road.

“These facilities can absolutely work if they can find a model that works.

“The first error I see in this model is the proximity to the schools, which is a no brainer.”

Bocskei said in a previous interview a better location for a project that allows drug and alcohol consumption on site is across the street from the RCMP detachment downtown.

When the project was first brought before Kelowna city council, it was pitched as a dry house serving graduates of a religious organization’s program.

READ MORE: McCurdy project in Rutland gets go-ahead from Kelowna councillors

“Now there’s another story,” Bocskei said.

The organization, Freedom’s Door, failed to raise the appropriate funds and the site, which had been rezoned by council, was purchased by BC Housing.

As the land was already rezoned, when the new application was brought back to council on June 17, councillors could only vote on the form and character of the development.

“We were not informed that this was going to be a wet facility where addicts would be supplied drugs potentially,” Bocskei said.

“They’re going to need to feed their habits. Petty crime is going to increase and our kids are all going to be subjected to other things.”

The 49-units purchased by BC Housing will have its day-to-day operations overseen by the Kelowna branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

At Wednesday night’s information session at the Rutland Centennial Hall, the regional director for the interior region of BC Housing, Ann Howard, said the units would be rented out to a variety of people in need including those experiencing homelessness, those with physical and mental limitations and those who have addictions.

“There will be a variety of people,” she said. “It’s not a homogeneous mix.”

Gaelene Askeland, executive director of the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society, said if people have homes, issues such as crime and theft are likely to decline.

“The struggles we have with people outside — the petty crime, the theft and that kind of stuff — that comes along with people still being outside,” she said.

“If we had every single one of those people housed, chances are, we would have a lot less problems.”


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna hockey seasons return in 6 weeks

The Kelowna Chiefs are the latest to release their upcoming schedule

WWII hero draws huge crowd in Kelowna

Around 1,000 people came out to hear the story of Marthe Cohn, the heroic Jewish French spy

$1.4 million Rowcliffe Park development in Kelowna complete

The first phase of the park was completed in 2017

Two Kelowna robbers have been court charged

Paul Davis Houle and Tyler Brice Rathbone face break and enter charges

Fire destroys storage unit business in Kelowna

The fire was reported at Hawkeye Holdings just after 2 p.m. Thursday

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

Arrest made in vandalism of the former home of man charged with South Okanagan murders

RCMP confirmed one person has been arrested in relation to the alleged vandalism

Respected wildlife artist in the Okanagan dies

According to a post by his family, Terry Isaac died on July 16

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Auto theft numbers decline in Princeton; thefts from vehicles on the increase

Policing statistics show changing trends in rural community

Most Read