A pair of Vernon city councillors have banded together in a quest to find places for people without safe and secure housing to sleep at night.
At the regular city council meeting Monday, councillors Kelly Fehr and Teresa Durning brought forward two notices of motion: one proposing an emergency overnight camping site and another proposing an emergency overnight RV site.
It was requested administration consult with City of Kelowna to obtain information regarding costing and resource requirements to operate their designated emergency camping site for the homeless population.
The camping motion also requested administration identify specific lands in Vernon which could be designated as an emergency camping site for the homeless population.
The motion outlined the rationale for both requests.
“BC currently has a .7 percent vacancy rate which makes housing extremely difficult to secure regardless of income. The Province of BC has seen housing and rental costs skyrocket over the last year which makes securing housing in Vernon within a .7 vacancy rate market out of reach for most people making minimum wage or on a fixed income. As a result, emergency measures must be put in place to provide a safe environment for people who do not have safe and secure housing to sleep in at night,” the motion read.
“When people who are housing insecure and do not have washroom facilities to access at night, they are required to find less-than-humane locations. Providing outhouses will provide the housing insecure with a humane place to go to the washroom.
“When people who are housing insecure do not have washroom facilities to access at night, they are required to find less than humane locations.”
The motion regarding RV parking would have administration consult with communities that operate similar sites and learn about the costs and resources required.
“When people who are housing insecure do not have a safe space to set up their RV, they will seek out different locations that provide environments which include lighting, electricity, community/safe people to be around. Providing a designated location will reduce the need to park on the side of a road at night.”
According to Fehr and Durning providing such facilities would reduce the number of abandoned camps, litter would be reduced by providing garbage bins and other benefits to the city.