Homeless people and supporters calling on City Hall to get shelter built.
Numerous tents have been set up since Thursday on the lawn at Campbell River City Hall as homeless people and a volunteer group supporting them tries to get the City moving on a plan for a new shelter.
“I know the City has a plan to do housing but that’s 5 years away, so in the meantime we need something to be able to help these people through” Diane Palmer of community group Grassroots Kind Hearts told CHEK News.
Even before a permanent housing plan the City does have plans for a 24/7 Sobering Assessment Centre, however finding an agreeable place to put the shelter has proven difficult.
The centre was supposed to be built at 1180 Fir Street but pushback from area residents and businesses has the City looking for an alternate location.
In the meantime the temporary extreme weather shelter behind Radiant Life Church was due to close on March 31st but has been extended as the City tries to come up with a more permanent alternative.
The delays have the homeless and their supporters left feeling frustrated.
“If someone doesn’t stand up and do something then it’s just going to keep getting delayed” said Krisandra Rufus, founder of Grassroots Kind Hearts.
No one knows the perils of homelessness better than Courtney Drake who is homeless herself and whose own mother, then brother both died on the streets last year.
“You’re not allowed to be with couples in shelters and he wanted to be with his girlfriend so he froze.” said Drake about her brother Colin who was found frozen behind a downtown dumpster.
Sabrina Dignard is camping at City Hall. She has been in a vicious circle since losing her job when Target closed last year.
“No one wants to hire someone who’s homeless on the streets right and it’s harder to get a place here because a lot of people don’t want to take in people on welfare so it makes it a lot harder because everyone judges people who are on welfare. And once you get stuck on the streets it’s hard to get off the streets” Dignard told CHEK News.
“We recognize that the emergency shelter is a temporary solution, and we know that we will be most effective working together for longer-term housing, and for addiction treatment when drug and alcohol use is related to homelessness” commented Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams in a press release.