Following a critical report of operations at the 3030 Gordon Avenue homeless shelter, B.C. Housing has pledged to work on making the area cleaner and improving services.
The province is set to launch a clean-up team to deal with persistent garbage problems around the site.
B.C. Housing is also looking at expanding mobile response services around the Tri-Cities.
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“This could reduce the number of individuals congregating outside 3030 Gordon seeking services,” according to the province.
The report recommended more outreach services in a bid to build a rapport with entrenched homeless people. However, “street outreach is not a funded service under these programs,” the province stated.
B.C. Housing will keep working with both RainCity and local municipalities to “determine how this need will be addressed,” according to the province’s response to the report.
The report strongly encouraged the province to ensure RainCity maintains a consistent management team. However, that responsibility rests with RainCity, according to the province.
“While BC Housing can provide support as needed and identify minimum staffing levels for the site, staffing strategies for RainCity remain their responsibility.”
The province is also set to work with the fire department and RainCity shelter management to do something about the high number of fire alarm incidents.
In a response to the report, the province is set to implement “regular attendance” from RainCity at all Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group meetings, according to the release.
“We are pleased the review highlighted the need to provide additional housing and supports to those experiencing homelessness in the Tri-Cities,” stated Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group co-ordinator Polly Krier in the release. “Having previously identified this need, we are already working with a consultant to establish our role to best support a comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness in the Tri-Cities.”
Running the shelter over the past few years has been particularly challenging, noted RainCity co-executive director Catharine Hume.
“It is important to note that this work continues in the context of an ongoing and unabating drug poisoning public health crisis in B.C. We welcome the recommendations through this review and have begun or completed work on more than half of the RainCity specific recommendations,” Hume stated.
Coquitlam is set to mull the report’s findings as well as the province’s response, according to Mayor Richard Stewart.
“Over the coming weeks, city council and staff will be reviewing the findings of the operational review released today to learn more about the recommended actions and explore how the city can continue to support initiatives that improve services in our community,” Stewart stated.