Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran in an internet video he recently released address issues in the downtown care of the city. —Image: Facebook

Kelowna mayor seeking provincial support for homelessness plan at UBCM

Colin Basran success of Journey Home Strategy requires provincial funding

Kelowna’s priority at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler this week is to gain provincial support—and money—for its ambitious, multi-year, multi-million dollar plan to address homelessness.

Mayor Colin Basran said the effort to pry funding from the province to support the Journey Home Strategy includes a number of face-to-face meetings with provincial ministers, including the ministers of health, social development and poverty reduction, mental health and addictions and municipal affairs and housing.

“My message to all of them is, what we need is the province to help get people into housing so they can then get the support they need,” said Basran.

The Journey Home Strategy is a five-year plan to end homelessness in Kelowna. It is currently being implemented by a city appointed task force, which council approved earlier this year. Using a “housing first model,” the plan looks to house those on the street and then get them the support they need and treatment for issues such as mental health problems and addiction if they are needed.

Despite the city moving forward with the strategy and the local RCMP increasing downtown patrols to address growing concerns about open drug use and other problems, several candidates running in the current civic election campaign have complained the city, in their estimation, is not doing enough deal with the issue.

Related: Kelowna council approves ambitious strategy to address homelessness in the city

Basran said he wants to find out from the ministers how Kelowna can access funding to help build the 300 new units of long-term supportive housing the Journey Home plan calls for, as well as provide 500 new program spaces for treatment.

He said it has been shown that a housing first approach works and is an effective way of then getting people who need it into support programs to deal with mental health and addiction, both of which are often prevalent among those living on the street.

Related: Consultant puts Kelowna homeless count close to 2,000

The Union of B.C. Municipalities convention gathers municipal politicians from across the B.C. to share ideas, meet and talk each other as well as provincial politicians, and,as a group, call on Victoria to support specific calls.

Basran said the issues of homelessness, mental health and addiction, crime, people sleeping on the street and discarded needles is not specific to his city.

“This is a crisis, a serious issue faced across North America” he said after attending a meeting of B.C. mayors at the convention earlier this week.

“Kelowna is not facing these issues in isolation.”

He said it is also not new.

“It’s been building for decades,” he said.

In response to current candidates who are pointing a finger at his council for not doing enough to deal with issues, he said no one person or one council can end the problems on the street. It will take a combined effort involving all levels of government, as well as the community, said Basran.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission to serve Thanksgiving dinner for the less fortunate

The dinner will be served from 12 p.m. to 6.p.m. and will include your traditional foods

Water Quality Advisory in effect for those living in Kelowna’s Glenmore-Ellison area

All taps being serviced from Mill Creek need to be shutoff or identified as dangerous to the public

Whisky lovers get another crack at purchasing prized Okanagan product

The Okanagan’s Laird of Fintry only releases their exclusive malt whiskey once a year

Supercar ride-alongs donated off by Kelowna dealership for local charity

Put on by August Motorcars, donations were collected for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association

Chefs in the Classroom Initiative Set to Grow Thanks to Generous Support

The initiative teaches young children how to grow, cook and eat local foods

Election 2019: Silverado Socrates — independent candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country

Silverado Socrates is running as an independent candidate in Kelowna-Lake Country

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

Morning Start: How old is the Canadian Thanksgiving tradition?

Your morning start for Monday, October 14th, 2019

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read