City Council Authorizes Day Space for People Experiencing Homelessness

January 25, 2022 at 2:51 pm  Kamloops, Municipal, News

On January 25, 2022, City Council authorized the City to enter into a short-term facility use permit with the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society and The Mustard Seed to provide a day space at 48 Victoria Street West for people experiencing homelessness from April 1 to October 31, 2022.

The Gathering Place is a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous service providers and an opportunity to provide a culturally safe space for people experiencing homelessness to access supports during daytime hours. The two service providers have been approved for funding through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, a federal program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness, to operate The Gathering Place in 2022 and 2023.

The Gathering Place fills an identified need for a day space on the South Shore. The space will be open 12:00–8:00 pm, seven days a week, and will be maintained and cleaned upon closure on a nightly basis. The first day of operations at the day space will follow the closure of the temporary winter shelter at the Stuart Wood gymnasium on March 31, 2022.

In 2021, the two service providers operated The Gathering Place at 48 Victoria Street West from August 16 to November 5. During this time, there were 2,792 unique site visits and 642 meals served. The service providers plan to improve and expand the services on site in 2022 with increased activities, advocacy and navigation services, Indigenous culturally programming and traditional meals, and client involvement in supporting site management.

The 2021 Reaching Home Point-in-Time Count conducted on April 15 and 16, 2021, identified 206 individuals as experiencing homelessness in the city. Nearly 50% of respondents self-identified as Indigenous, which is a significant over-representation as Indigenous people comprise approximately 10% of Kamloops residents according to Census data. Of clients who attended The Gathering Place in 2021, 44% identified as Indigenous.

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