Mustard Seed considering options for future move of Kamloops day space from West Victoria Street location

Day space on the move?

The Mustard Seed is actively looking for a new location for its outdoor day space, currently located in a parking lot on West Victoria Street.

The Gathering Place, a temporary outdoor day space where the city’s homeless can congregate and receive meals, is now in its fourth year located in a city-owned parking lot next to the municipality's storage centre for the homeless at 48 West Victoria St., and across the street from various social housing buildings and agencies.

Nyasha Manyanye, The Mustard Seed's director of operations, said the non-profit has been looking into moving to a better location since about the start of the year.

“Internally we've been actively looking for a new location, but that's a bigger conversation. That's something that we're still looking at,” Manyanye told Castanet Kamloops.

He said the agency has been looking into alternative spots for The Gathering Place, particularly since The Mustard Seed decided to close its dayroom to the public come July 31.

He said a good alternative location would be somewhere close to Royal Inland Hospital, but away from a busy road.

“But, as it stands, I think we're just going to make good use of what we have,” Manyanye said, noting the city provides the parking lot for free.

He said one of the main challenges the Mustard Seed has had with its current location is people jaywalking to the other side of West Victoria Street to congregate on the grassy area outside the BCLC building. That is why they’ve tried to make the space more inviting with artificial grass and picnic tables this year.

“It's not really one of the best locations in the downtown considering that it's right next to one of the busy roads in the downtown,” Manyanye said.

According to the Mustard Seed, public access to the dayroom at its 181 West Victoria St. location has caused threats to sobriety, safety and increased overdoses and other incidents at their facility.

The City of Kamloops provides space for the Gathering Place to operate, while funding for the Mustard Seed-run day space is provided through the federal Reaching Home: Canada’s Plan to End Homelessness grant, which is distributed via the municipality.

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