Kamloops councillor suggests using contingency fund to assist social agencies this winter

Motion to support agencies

A Kamloops councillor is putting forward a motion which, if approved, would see $8,000 from a council contingency fund be given as grants to agencies providing services for people in need this winter.

Nancy Bepple told Castanet Kamloops that even with efforts from BC Housing, service providers and city staff, there are still some gaps in services for Kamloops’ vulnerable population — gaps which agencies are working to address.

“The different service providers and community groups in Kamloops have just done a tremendous job of supporting people who are homeless, and not just in this winter, but in general. And one of the things that city council can do is just support the work of those groups,” Bepple said.

She noted that aside from service providers running winter shelters, there are others working to provide transportation, winter apparel, or food.

“There’s all sorts of different groups, both the ones that are providing the winter shelter, and those that are providing other services in the community. And they’ve been addressing all sorts of gaps in services,” Bepple said.

Bepple’s motion cites the city’s 2009 social plan which identifies the city’s role as involving communications, advocacy and partnership building between community agencies.

The motion said while housing is primarily the responsibility of BC Housing and contracted agencies, there are community groups who may wish to provide aid during winter months.

If approved, Bepple’s motion would direct the city partner with the BC Interior Community Foundation to disburse $8.000 from council’s contingency fund to assist community groups this winter.

The motion states the funds would “support additional services to help bridge the gap in the 2022/23 winter season.”

Bepple said she envisions agencies coming forward with a need they have identified in the community, and then they would be given a grant.

“There might be a number of groups that have things that they could do if they had some support. It might make sense to disperse have more than one grant,” Bepple said.

“So disperse eight grants of up to $1,000, rather than one grant of $8,000. I think that that might help a number of service agencies help fill some of the gaps.”

Bepple’s motion will be discussed and voted on during a council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

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