January 12, 2019
Homelessness affects communities of all sizes, from Penticton to Castlegar, Oliver to Slocan. A recent census in Penticton counted 403 people without a home. There are fewer in communities such as Trail and Grand Forks, but riverside camps are conspicuous in summer and generate a lot of local discussion. While some simply call for the camps to be disbanded, the immediate question becomes “Where will the displaced residents go?”
It has become clear that the answer to homelessness is to provide these people with homes. While it is not as simple as that, and not inexpensive, it is far less expensive than the supports needed for a truly homeless population, including soup kitchens, food banks, hospital care, bylaw enforcement and other policing.