A man sitting outside of his tent on Leon Avenue on Nov. 1, 2019. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)

Kelowna homeless to demand improvements to their living conditions

Homeless residents of Kelowna’s tent city on Leon Avenue are calling a press conference on Nov. 12

People experiencing homelessness on Leon Avenue will be holding a press conference this afternoon to demand better treatment from the city.

The press conference is set for 1:30 p.m. today at the corner of Leon Avenue and Abbott Street.

Over the weekend, homeless leaders collected signatures from people residing on Leon Avenue to gauge support for four demands: housing, no cops in said housing, no further theft of their belongings and safer heating.

“People on the strip have been told ‘everyone will have to move into the shelter’ when the mat program starts later this month,” stated a release from homeless advocacy group Alliance Against Displacement (AAD).

“But a shelter is not a home and not a suitable alternative to a tent city because shelters can be even more unsafe and insecure than the streets.”

The release added that with only 40 beds opening and over a hundred people on the Leon strip, the mat program will not offer enough beds. The organization also said the city should “buy a hotel for immediate housing and let people outside after the mat program opens stay on the Leon strip.”

READ MORE: Fireworks allegedly shot at Kelowna homeless encampment

READ MORE: RCMP evict homeless people camping on Leon Avenue

According to AAD, police and bylaw officers often act “entitled” to invade the homes of people living on Leon and in turn violate Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“We demand that police and bylaw follow the law and respect our tents as our private domiciles, entering them only when we give explicit written permission, or under the same conditions that would allow them to enter a private apartment or house.”

AAD also alleges that officers regularly steal the belongings of unhoused people on Leon, labelling them as “abandoned” or “excessive” and subsequently throwing them away.

“Police do not have the authority to decide what is appropriate for us to possess. Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees us the right to protect our personal property along with our general security of body, wellbeing, and person.”

Also among the demands are electrical outlets at each tent to run safer electric heaters rather than propane heaters, which are allegedly often confiscated by officers.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

West Kelowna Warriors edge Vernon Vipers 6-4

The teams meet again on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. for the final game of regular season

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to Abbotsford

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

Central Okanagan school superintendent addresses technology’s impact on students

Physical and mental well being for students key themes during Kevin Kaardal’s presentation

Westbank First Nation Grand Chief Noll Derriksan passes away

Derriksan was 79 at the time of his passing

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read