Thursday, January 17, 2008
As we have said on many occasions our survey of homelessness in BC(which shows 10,580 homeless)is very conservative. Today, in Kelowna, we saw a perfect example of how our numbers are often underestimated. The survey indicated that Kelowna had 279 homeless people but we were told by a staff member at the city that the real number is closer to 500. This comes hot on the heels of Minister Coleman claiming that our figures are inflated.
We also saw an excellent example of community problem solving and innovative and supportive housing at the Willow Hotel. There a private landlord has provided this soon to be demolished building to the Canadian Mental Health Association for winter supportive housing for people with mental health challenges. We spoke with a number of the clients who would otherwise be homeless and heard their reports of how integral the program is to their health. While this program is slated to close at the end of February there are important lessons to be learned from its success.
Tomorrow we travel to Penticton.