VERNON — A number of homeless camps in Vernon are in the process of being decommissioned.
Members of the City's Camp Okanagan Outreach Liason Team (COOL) are encouraging the campers to use the spaces and services available at the John Howard Society and Gateway Shelter, over the winter.
Protective Services manager Clint Kanester says the team has worked over the last few months to ensure the camps were clean and safe, with no fires or dangerous materials and that the inhabitants were aware of support services.
However, he says the city no longer has the seasonal help to provide the support, and they can't maintain the same standards.
“The main focus has been the health and safety of campers and connecting them to services, as much as is possible,” said Clint Kanester, Manager of Protective Services for the City of Vernon. “We can’t force that, however. So while we may look to decommission a specific camp, we are aware that a new camp may begin somewhere else in Vernon. We will continue to monitor and to provide support as much as we can, encouraging the users to participate in the programs available.”
“We are aware that members of our community are collecting items for people in homeless camps,” says Annette Sharkey, Executive Director of the Social Planning Council. “We recommend that these donations be provided to John Howard Society or Upper Room Mission, because this helps to protect the dignity and privacy of people in the camps and provides safety for those wanting to donate.”
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