Outreach worker Kelly Morris warmed up around a fire outside St. Anne’s Anglican Church in Parksville on Thursday, vowing to stay at the homeless camp until a 24-hour emergency shelter is opened for Oceanside’s homeless.
“I’m not leaving here until we get a 24-hour shelter,” said Kelly Morris, a Parksville resident. “I’m the one that sees them die. I’m the one that brings them back with Narcan.”
Morris started the camp at St. Anne’s Anglican Church on Sunday at the height of the weekend’s snow and freezing temperatures.
“Where are these people going to go? We put them in the bush, we’re gonna have another homicide like Whiskey Creek,” she said.
Will, a 30-year-old homeless man, told CHEK News he is homeless because of an ongoing drug addiction and says he would welcome any kind of shelter.
“It would definitely be a lot better. There never has been one really,” he said.
Morris has many critics of her continued fight for a homeless shelter in the City of Parksville.
Local council has said repeatedly it is too costly for them to bear and should be the province’s responsibility.
According to Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne, BC Housing has provided multiple sites for housing over recent years and each time they fill a facility, more homeless move to the area.
“The more we open up, the more it becomes an issue,” said the Parksville Mayor.
“Every time we turn around there’s another 40, there’s another 40 it’s like digging a hole in the beach in the sand with the water coming in, it just keeps filling back in again,” he said.
Still, Morris said she won’t give up and wants the now empty Parksville Community Centre opened for the homeless to get them out of the cold.