Council expected to deny
secure space for local homeless

A request to provide a more secure space for a well-known homeless person in the Osoyoos community does not appear to have the support of the Town’s council.

Osoyoos Council Monday will vote on a motion brought out of a November 20 in camera session that would have the Town not provide a “location to homeless people to camp and/or locate their belongings.”

The motion follows what is believed to be an in camera discussion about the homeless person. The matter was moved in camera to protect the person’s privacy.

It cites liability, health concerns and impacts on the community and municipal resources if the Town sets a precedent and provides a designated space for the homeless person.

Council appears concerned the Town would be responsible for providing washroom facilities and have to monitor, clean up and maintain the designated area.

 

The motion follows a Nov. 6 request from advocates for homeless people in the community looking for help for the homeless person, specifically a more secure space to pitch a tent and leave belongings, which are now often scattered about town and subject to interference.

That led to a larger discussion about the plight of all homeless people in the community — and a request for more information on their number and current status.

At its November 20 meeting, Council took a wait-and-see approach on the homelessness issue, looking for community commitment to the effort before it would dedicate resources.

“It is important that the groups passionate about the issue be part of seeking
a possible solution, whether it be a temporary fix or a permanent fix,” Janette Van Vianen, the Town’s Director of Corporate Services, said in a report delivered to Council.

“Community groups may have better success in obtaining grant funding to assist in finding solutions.”

The Town, she added, “currently does not own any facilities that would be suitable for a shelter” nor the capacity to supervise and operate a shelter.

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