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West Kelowna council supports portable washrooms/showers for homeless

The Salvation Army will operate the program for the first year
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Spark BC and BC Housing have agreed to provide funding for a portable washroom/shower trailer for those experiencing homelessness in West Kelowna.(Black Press file photo).

The City of West Kelowna plans to provide portable washrooms and showers for the homelessness.

At its Dec. 13 meeting, council heard that a portable trailer is much cheaper and more viable than a brick-and-mortar facility. It can be taken to where it is needed most and housed in city yards to discourage damage and vandalism.

Staff told council that Spark BC has provided a $50,000 grant to cover part of the cost of the unit, and BC Housing has agreed to provide the remainder, as well as fund the first year of operation. Council also heard that the Salvation Army has agreed to take on the duties of that first year.

There was unanimous support for the program from council, however, there were also concerns about how it will be funded after the first year.

READ MORE: Man sheltering in West Kelowna dumpster nearly crushed in garbage truck

“There is a need,” said Coun. Rick de Jong. “But in a year I don’t want to be talking about how we might transition this over, I want to be talking about how we will transition.”

De Jong, and other councillors, felt a community service group could take on the responsibility.

According to staff, there are approximately 10 to 12 people living on West Kelowna streets currently. However, many individuals living at the Super 8 motel on Westgate Road could be on the street at the end of March when the BC Housing contract for that facility ends.

That could see anywhere from 20 to 40 people on the streets, staff told council.

READ MORE: ‘We are tired of the futility’: Okanagan shelters call for changes to homelessness response


@GaryBarnes109
gary.barnes@kelownacapnews.com

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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