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File Photo: Kelly Hayes
File Photo: Kelly Hayes

City hiring homelessness consultant

by - Story: 35893

Kelowna City Council will discuss hiring a consultant to prepare a strategy to stop and end homelessness when budget deliberations take place Thursday.

The consultant would be hired for four months at a cost of about $10,000 to $12,000 per month.

The request comes out of the 'Mayor's Workshop to End Homelessness' held at the end of November.

Mayor Sharon Shepherd says she was surprised at the cost, but says the consultant is needed to guide the people that have shown an interest in finding a solution.

"We need someone who will be paid in order to manage a group of people tat will go the next step," says Shepherd. "We don't have staff to do that nor do we have money in the budget."

Shepherd says it was clear from the workshop that it is time for action, not more plans.

"We also heard very clearly that you still have to look seven to 10 years down the road to know what you are going to accomplish and how you are going to get there."

"We don't have a map that tells us exactly what it is we need."

City Councillor, Norm Letnick struggled with the need to spend the additional funds, asking instead for action.

"Why do we need to spend $50,000 on a consultant to help a committee?" says Letnick.

"Why don't we just take a couple of our parcels that we own then invite the provincial government to put some houses on them?"

Community Planning Manager, Theresa Eichler, told council it is doing just what Letnick suggested based on a funding announcement from the province in October.

"Staff though can't put together a strategy. That's why we need a consultant," says Eichler.

Council voted 7-2, with Letnick and Barrie Clark opposed, to add the item to Thursday's budget discussion.

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