(Western News file photo)

(Western News file photo)

Penticton wants to prioritize local homeless over ‘transients’

Council believes many are coming here from out of town because Penticton has the services

Penticton city council wants to shelter local citizens first before helping those who have travelled from out of town and are experiencing homelessness.

A motion, first introduced by Coun. Julius Bloomfield on Feb. 2, was approved at city council’s last meeting on Feb. 16.

The motion reads, “the City of Penticton has been a willing partner in housing the homeless, but continues to be asked for more and the level of homelessness continues to escalate despite the building of new housing units for those in need.”

The motion goes onto say there may be an element of transient people coming to Penticton in the hope of finding housing. Therefore, the city will convey to the various agencies that provide shelter to the homeless to prioritize shelter spaces to Indigenous peoples and those who have resided in Penticton for more than one year.

According to previous data from the community support group 100 More Homes, 88 per cent of identified homeless individuals have been in Penticton from three to 20 years, with 16 per cent of them being in Penticton for over 20 years.

The motion carried in a 4-2 vote with coun. Katie Robinson and coun. Judy Sentes opposed.

“We need to send a message to the three groups: first the provincial government to pressure them to find some solutions as we are the main centre for the homeless to come to,” said Bloomfield before the vote.

“Second, the public needs to know we are being consistent and proactive in dealing with this issue and thirdly to the shelter providers that we are expecting them to show preference to those who have been a consistent problem,” he said.

Mayor John Vassilaki agreed with the motion.

“We have to take care of our longtime Penticton residents no matter what their lifestyles are. They are in dire situations.”

The mayor went on to say that the shelter providers know who is who on the streets and 100 More Homes Penticton is now putting a name to faces to identify who is accessing housing services.

“It won’t be difficult to find out who has lived here more than a year,” Vassilaki said.

Last month, the city asked the provincial government to do a third-party audit of Penticton’s existing supportive housing for the homeless, explaining that Penticton has done more than its fair share of helping.

City council wants other communities in South Okanagan to share the load, with the idea that many from out of town come to Penticton to find shelter. Summerland, Peachland, Osoyoos, Oliver and Keremeos are without any form of homeless shelter.

READ MORE: 100 More Homes is gathering name-list

READ MORE: Penticton wants audit of three BC Housing projects in the city

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has cleared the Lumby RCMP of any wrongdoing after a missing person was found deceased in December 2020. (IIO photo)
Police watchdog says Lumby RCMP played no role in missing person’s death

The body was found by a family member shortly after the RCMP suspended their search

The Dixie Fried Hep Katz are featured in episode four of the Focus Online Series, March 4-7. (Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre photo)
Okanagan talents shine under Vernon spotlight

12-year-old from Lake Country, Enderby singer-songwriter-guitarist and Kelowna duo in Focus

School bus fees are being charged to all riders in the Vernon School District. (Courtesy photo)
Parents pressure Vernon school board to curb bus fee hike

More than 1,200 signatures on petition against $200 rider fees, to be discussed at board meeting

Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil has been named one of five winners of PacificSport Okanagan’s Community Sport Hero 2021 athletic excellence award. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil, Elena Gaskell, honoured for excellence

Tennis player and freestyle skier win PacificSport Okanagan awards

An off-duty Vernon Taxi driver got a 24-hour licence suspension, vehicle towed, after failing a standardized field sobriety test around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (John E Green - Facebook)
Vernon Taxi towed after driver suspected impaired

Off-duty cab towed from McDonald’s drive-thru early Tuesday morning

The images are of Bald Eagles feeding.
Photos: Birds of prey

Princeton photographer captures compelling photos of a Bald Eagle breakfast

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

Okanagan College
Okanagan College holds March Madness fundraiser

Money from the fundraiser will go to support the Okanagan College Foundation

Most Read