As the temperature drops down, a long-time champion for Kamloops’ vulnerable residents speaks out about the city’s homelessness situation and the need for wrap-around assistance.
Tanya Spahmann is a member of the board of directors of the Out of The Cold programme, which helps the homeless during the warmest and coldest months of the year. Spahmann is currently in her third year of the TRU social work program.
Before focusing on cheap homes, Spahmann believes the city would prioritize the provision of wrap-” The city is disregarding the social problem, which is the more pressing concern, and which is informed by individuals who are homeless and have mental health and addiction issues,” she added. “We need to address the social problem as a humanitarian priority before moving on to the affordable housing shortage.”
Arjun Singh, a councillor, said he dislikes putting one problem against another.
He stated, “We need to do both.” “I agree that these services are necessary. It saddens my heart that we are now in this predicament. I’ve never seen a city council work so hard to bring about meaningful social change.
Addiction and mental health, according to Singh, are complex and difficult concerns.
“Getting the most addicted people to receive assistance is often the most difficult,” he added. “Typically, the provincial government funds wrap-around services. We’re searching for a complicated care facility and a sobering centre, and one of the issues we’re seeing is a lack of manpower. At the hospital and at the care homes, there are personnel shortages.”
After volunteering for a year at The Loop resource centre before it closed in July, Spahmann said she is particularly worried about the homeless population on the North Shore.
The North Shore, according to Spahmann, is in desperate need of a winter refuge.
“We’ll need a shuttle service if we just have a centre on one side,” Singh added. “Due to a conflict of interest with a hotel owner, the day lodge did not go through.” Unfortunately, such a stumbling obstacle was not anticipated. Services are required on the North Shore and in the downtown regions. I’m hoping we’ll start talking about it early in the year, before the winter sets in.”
Spahmann proposes a single large, permanent emergency shelter for the underprivileged that incorporates intersectional concepts and provides wrap-around assistance.
“Different levels of needs and rehabilitation should have their own rooms,” she said. “Cultural concerns should be taken into account. It must be both transitional and low barrier, with sufficient staffing. Medical, interventional, and cultural services should all be included.”