The former Fortune Motel will house 40 units for the homeless population
The B.C. government has purchased a hotel in northern Kamloops to provide more shelters for people living with homelessness.
Last Friday, B.C. Housing announced that $3.6 million of the provincial Supportive Housing Fund has been spent on the former Fortune Motel at 654 Fortune Drive, with the aim of repurposing it as supportive housing.
The two-building facility has 40 rooms, which will be turned into temporary homes for the underprivileged population.
B.C. Housing will submit a rezoning proposal to the City of Kamloops later this year to make these homes permanent.
Residents will be able to access services such as daily meals, mental health and addiction treatment under staff monitoring 24/7.
“Buying this property means that dozens of people who are struggling to find a place to live in Kamloops will have safe and secure shelter,” Housing Minister David Eby said in a statement.
B.C. Housing said it hopes to open the complex by early this fall, after some facility renovations and upgrades.
Regional director of operations Nanette Drobot says the Crown corporation is looking for a non-profit organization to operate the complex.
“In Kamloops, you have the benefit of having so many strong non-profit operators who just do a really incredible job,” Drobot said Tuesday to Doug Herbert, the guest host of CBC’s Daybreak Kamloops. “I’m really anxious to see who’s going to apply to run this housing for us.”
In March, the Kamloops city council voted to require that supportive housing operators offer their clients extensive services — including 24/7 security guards, daily on-site nursing staff and access to weekly mental health and addictions counselling services — when appropriate, in response to public frustration with disorder on the streets.
Drobot says it’s stigmatizing to associate the homeless population with criminal activities.
“This type of label is harmful for the folks because it sets the stage for how the rest of the society treats them.…You get communities that are fearful because they listen to this.
“We’re really trying to do our best to fight that stigma language, to create opportunities for the people who are unsheltered outside to come to a place that they can feel welcome,” she said.
B.C. Housing currently provides 160 supportive homes across Kamloops, including 62 in the North Shore neighbourhood, 54 in the Mission Flats area, and 44 downtown.
Kamloops has 201 people experiencing homelessness, according to the city’s latest report in 2018.
Original Article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-housing-kamloops-fortune-motel-supportive-housing-1.6045037