Editorial: Fight for people, not profits

Editorial: Fight for people, not profits

Calling on Kelowna developers to join the fight against homelessness

Now that a consultant working on the City of Kelowna’s homelessness problem has released a figure on how many people are affected by homelessness, we have a better idea as a community what we are up against.

As opposed to the federal government’s Point in Time count, which had pegged the number at 233 on a given night, the city’s consultant says the real figure is closer to 1,900 people who are dealing with homelessness in Kelowna.

And that’s, at least, a good place to start. Knowing what we are up against as a community will only help deal with the situation.

But the same consultant said the answers are not going to be easy and the ability to eradicate homelessness, as some city’s are saying they have done, may be more difficult to do, thanks to Kelowna’s unique situation of temperature and location, attracting homeless people from other areas.

Related: West Kelowna homeless shelter at maximum capacity

Perhaps this is why the Journey Home task force says it will take a combined approach including from communities other than Kelowna to work on the issue.

The consultant also said it’s imperative to get developers on board as well as those that are homeless. These two ends of the spectrum may be the hardest to move.

Can the city move developers here into a place where they are building not just what they call affordable housing, but actually housing that is affordable? Will they dedicate resources to this issue at a time when the area continues to boom and even the lowest-priced units are out of the question for low-income earners?

And on the other hand you have the homeless, many of which are ready and willing to get out of their situation, if only there was somewhere for them to go. But you also have people living on the street that don’t want help and avoid it at all costs.

Front-line workers will tell you this if you ask. Many homeless are afraid of the system, scared for their lives and it’s extremely difficult for them to accept help.

In the end, the consultant called for a community-wide effort and we feel it’s incumbent upon those that have a lot in this day and age to give back.

So we’re calling on our community of developers to dedicate resources to helping properly deal with our homelessness situation. Join the fight for people, not just profits.

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