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Kelowna  

North End residents pens open letter on homeless camps

Pack-up policy 'unfair'

The Kelowna Downtown Knox Mountain neighbourhood association says it will continue to advocate for effective solutions to homelessness, but does not believe pitching tents at the base of Knox fits that criteria.

KDKM’s seven board members added their signatures to an open letter signed by 58 people who work and/or live in the city’s North End.

The letter states: "We are a sample of Kelowna North End residents and business owners who would like to express our concern regarding the recent designation of two sites in our neighbourhood as temporary overnight shelters. We feel these sites do not adequately serve the needs of the homeless population.

"In particular, the Knox Mountain Park designated site is lacking in sheltering from the elements and its location is too far from essential services. The inappropriateness of the Knox Mountain site is made evident by its lack of utilization – to date, not a single tent has been erected there. In addition, we feel that the current setup and pack up policy is unfair.

"We do not object to the sheltering of Kelowna’s homeless population in our neighbourhood should an appropriate indoor site(s) be identified and made available for this purpose. We encourage a dialogue between the city, BC Housing and our neighbourhood association to ensure the safety and appropriate conduct of both the existing community and our city’s homeless population.”

President Amanda Poon confirmed the group is not involved with any GoFundme campaign or legal action associated with the homeless camps, nor does it plan to join. 

“At this point,” says Poon, “We have many questions and concerns for the area we serve, but we believe the path forward must be collaborative, constructive, and evidence-based. We recognize that we do not represent every voice in our community, and we respect the right of citizens to express their own views.”



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