(Western News file photo)

(Western News file photo)

Penticton wants to prioritize local homeless over ‘transients’

Council believes many are coming here from out of town because Penticton has the services

Penticton city council wants to shelter local citizens first before helping those who have travelled from out of town and are experiencing homelessness.

A motion, first introduced by Coun. Julius Bloomfield on Feb. 2, was approved at city council’s last meeting on Feb. 16.

The motion reads, “the City of Penticton has been a willing partner in housing the homeless, but continues to be asked for more and the level of homelessness continues to escalate despite the building of new housing units for those in need.”

The motion goes onto say there may be an element of transient people coming to Penticton in the hope of finding housing. Therefore, the city will convey to the various agencies that provide shelter to the homeless to prioritize shelter spaces to Indigenous peoples and those who have resided in Penticton for more than one year.

According to previous data from the community support group 100 More Homes, 88 per cent of identified homeless individuals have been in Penticton from three to 20 years, with 16 per cent of them being in Penticton for over 20 years.

The motion carried in a 4-2 vote with coun. Katie Robinson and coun. Judy Sentes opposed.

“We need to send a message to the three groups: first the provincial government to pressure them to find some solutions as we are the main centre for the homeless to come to,” said Bloomfield before the vote.

“Second, the public needs to know we are being consistent and proactive in dealing with this issue and thirdly to the shelter providers that we are expecting them to show preference to those who have been a consistent problem,” he said.

Mayor John Vassilaki agreed with the motion.

“We have to take care of our longtime Penticton residents no matter what their lifestyles are. They are in dire situations.”

The mayor went on to say that the shelter providers know who is who on the streets and 100 More Homes Penticton is now putting a name to faces to identify who is accessing housing services.

“It won’t be difficult to find out who has lived here more than a year,” Vassilaki said.

Last month, the city asked the provincial government to do a third-party audit of Penticton’s existing supportive housing for the homeless, explaining that Penticton has done more than its fair share of helping.

City council wants other communities in South Okanagan to share the load, with the idea that many from out of town come to Penticton to find shelter. Summerland, Peachland, Osoyoos, Oliver and Keremeos are without any form of homeless shelter.

READ MORE: 100 More Homes is gathering name-list

READ MORE: Penticton wants audit of three BC Housing projects in the city

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.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

A puppy stolen from a West Kelowna residence has been reunited with its family. (Kelowna RCMP)
Stolen puppy reunited with West Kelowna family

A happy ending; puppy stolen from West Kelowna vehicle found in Kelowna, returned to family

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Kelowna’s top cop removing barriers for women in the force

Kara Triance’s journey to becoming a police chief was not without its challenges

Ella Lamourexu. (Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News)
Kelowna’s drag story

Ella Lamourexu explains the history behind drag in Kelowna

Pixabay.com
Kelowna Capital News presents Women in Business: 2021

Editor’s note on this year’s Women in Business

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow is closing its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
Petition to save South Okanagan’s only midwife clinic nears 3,000 signatures

After 12 years, Willow Community Midwives has to close its doors due to a shortage of midwives

Craig Gruden, (Little) Donny Kleinfelder, (Big) Donny Kleinfelder, Dale Kristensen, Dave Schwandt, Alyssa Schwandt, Tristan Schwandt and Angela Kirstein will feature in Backroad Truckers, a Barriere-based History channel series. (CORUS Entertainment photo)
Shuswap auto recycler breaks out of Rust Valley for Backroad Truckers

White Lake’s Dave Schwandt joins Big Donny Kleinfelder on new History Channel series

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Options available for medical care

Telephone and online methods allow people to contact doctors

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

The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society released a video on Feb. 22, 2021 promoting agriculture and food production in Salmon Arm and the Shuswap. (SAEDS image)
New video promotes Salmon Arm staples of agriculture, food production

Three-minute video from economic development featuring local producers receives appreciative reviews

One person was extricated from a vehicle that rolled off Highway 97 Feb. 25, 2021, near Clerke Road in Coldstream around 2 p.m. (Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star)
Two hurt in Highway 97 rollover south of Vernon

Ambulance transfers two patients with non-life-threatening injuries

Most Read