Mayor Christian pushing for comprehensive services at affordable housing units

By Chad Klassen
February 8, 2018 - 1:24pm Updated: February 8, 2018 - 5:25pm

KAMLOOPS — The mayor of Kamloops wants assurances there will be the appropriate amount of services provided for the 104 affordable modular housing units that are expected to be finished this fall.

The province are providing $16 million for the modular projects, one on each side of the river. But mayor Ken Christian, who's been in conversation with Interior Health since the units were announced on Jan. 17, wants to ensure Interior Health will be providing the support needed through the life of the modular unit, especially for those transitioning right off the streets. 

"Wanting to make sure there are wraparound services," said Christian. "When we talk about mental health support, there are mental health professionals there to provide that. When we talk about addiction and the ability to support recovery that there are workers that are going to be able to support that. My concern I want to express to the Interior Health Authority is that we need to have these people on the ground providing this support."

There will be 52 units at 317 Tranquille Rd. and another 52 modular rooms at 259 West Victoria St. for people on the south side of the Thompson River.

Christian noted that staffing levels and budgets will have be adjusted in order to make these affordable units a success. He said without constant support services, they end up falling apart. 

"When you don't have wraparound services, these facilities start to become problematic. That's when the community really echoes those kinds of concerns," he said. "I think that if we can do this right, we will be an example for the rest of the British Columbia. I'm confident that everybody knows what's needed. I just need to make sure [Interior Health] is delivering on those promises."

The province, upon announcing the units, indicated there would be 24/7 services available for residents. 

Interior Health contacted CFJC Today and said it's too early in the process to outline the exact services staff will be providing. But it confirmed it's committed to services needed at the facility. 

"Interior Health appreciates mayor Christian's commitment to safe affordable housing for Kamloops and desire to see that residents have access to appropriate health services. Accessible health services are essential to ensuring the well-being and independence of vulnerable populations," said Health Services Administrator with Interior Health Rae Samson in an email statement. "We are committed to working with the City of Kamloops and the project’s partner organizations to determine how best to support the health needs of these residents. 

Interior Health said it will reveal its service plans on the affordable units in the coming months. 

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