ASK Wellness hoping NDP housing money makes it to Kamloops

By Jill Sperling
September 12, 2017 - 5:10pm Updated: September 12, 2017 - 6:05pm

KAMLOOPS — The B.C. NDP government's first budget includes financial support for helping the province's homeless and drug addicted individuals. 

The NDP has committed $291 million for the construction of modular supportive housing units for the homeless, and $208 million for affordable rental housing. 

ASK Wellness Executive Director Bob Hughes says he would like to see some of that money come to Kamloops where housing is desperately needed. 

"Let's be frank, the NDP's primary voting population for this last election came out of the Lower Mainland," Hughes said. "I think the danger for a community like Kamloops is that we may not get our share in this community because the money gets trapped down in the Lower Mainland and Victoria, and that, I think, is where I will be speaking as loud as I can and saying our experience in our community is that we have not seen a great growth in the number of units that have been created."

The budget also sets aside $61 million to respond to the worsening fentanyl overdose crisis in B.C.

Hughes says current strategies for battling addiction haven't been working, and he hopes this funding can be put towards a different approach. 

"I don't think a Band-Aid solution of just more Naloxone and more acute responses is going to work," he said. "We need to look at some really unconventional approaches, which includes some mandated programming to move people away from their addictions."

Mobile overdose prevention unit sees 900 visits in first two months