Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. (Black Press file photos)

Kelowna, Victoria mayors call on B.C. to create housing pilot for homeless with complex needs

The co-chairs of the B.C. Urban Mayors’ Caucus want to work with the B.C. government to develop a five-site pilot project

The cities of Kelowna and Victoria are both facing the same two crises – homelessness and opioid addiction.

In an attempt to strengthen supports for mental health and substance use, mayors from both cities met with attorney general and housing minister David Eby and mental health minister Sheila Malcolmson this week.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps co-chair the B.C. Urban Mayors’ Caucus and hope for a plan to accelerate the province’s response to addressing mental health, substance use and homelessness.

“We are seeing historic investments from the province to build more affordable housing, which is serving the needs of many people in our communities. Yet … people with complex needs are falling through the cracks and aren’t being served by the supportive housing models and programs currently available,” said Helps.

READ MORE: B.C. mayors call on all parties to commit to ‘new fiscal relationship’ with province

In an effort to strengthen supportive housing models in the community, the B.C. Urban Mayors’ Caucus wants to work with Eby, Malcolmson and the provincial government to develop a five-site pilot project for 40- to 50-unit complex care housing facilities within a year: on the Island, in the North, the Interior and two in the Lower Mainland.

Both Basran and Helps expressed concern over the challenges in their communities and the lack of solutions, stating the most vulnerable residents are at risk without proper health supports to meet their needs.

“Our residents and business owners are frustrated. And economic recovery from the pandemic will be compromised without action now. It’s time to try new approaches,” said Basran.

READ MORE: Province grants $50,000 to Greater Victoria mental health, addiction treatment providers


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

homeless housing

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

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Big White Ski Resort pictured on Feb. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
No new COVID-19 cases at Big White in past week: IH

No more cases have been detected since IH’s last Big White Mountai update, Feb. 19

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Female deputy fire chief embraces the challenges

“Fighting a fire can be taught to anyone,” says Kelowna deputy fire chief, Sandra Follack

Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield. (Contributed)
Gender no deterrent for Kelowna businesswoman, MLA

“He looked at me, and he said, ‘You’ll never be as good of a developer as I am.’” — Renee Merrifield

While the Okanagan Rail Trail remained open, Coldstream parks have been closed for a month now, but could re-open mid-May. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Funds link Okanagan Rail Trail to Predator Ridge

1.3-km section of multi-use trail with a safe crossing under Highway 97

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here are the stories that made waves in the Okanagan-Shuswap

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

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

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

BC Housing has proposed that the emergency winter shelter at Victory Church at 352 Winnipeg Street be extended as a shelter until March 31, 2022. It was originally intended to be open until April 1, 2021. (Jesse Day - Western News)
One more year of ‘temporary’ homeless shelter in Penticton?

BC Housing has applied to extend Victory Church as a shelter for those experiencing homelessness

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Most Read