Homeless in Kamloops looking forward to new storage units

By Chad Klassen
January 31, 2018 - 3:14pm Updated: January 31, 2018 - 8:41pm

KAMLOOPS — Aaron Dallier lives on the streets of downtown Kamloops, and every day he has to lug around all his belongings.

"It gets tiresome, it's hard. Nowhere to leave it. Got to pack it," said Dallier, who lives mainly on the south side of town.

He has two backpacks and carries around extra clothes, his blanket for the night, and some identification. But come April 1, Dallier and others on the street will have a place to store their belongings. 

"Storage is a really big thing," said social and community development supervisor Jen Casorso. "I work with a lived experience committee in our community and they're been asking for storage for a while, and really it could be like a gateway point into services."

The storage unit will be located at 48 West Victoria St., a city-owned building, and expected to be available April 1.

The city feels if the homeless didn't have to worry about their things, they could move more freely and access programs. Dallier said he would take full advantage of the storage.

"I think that would benefit a lot of people on the streets that don't have to carry all their luggage all day long," he said. "You don't have to be tired, sore and stressed about it, right?"

The city is using the next two months to consult with bylaw and the RCMP to discuss how it would work. The city's also looking at other models. 

"There are models that are working in other communities, specifically First United Church in the downtown eastside has a really good mini storage program," said Casorso. "So we're in the process of understanding how it's working, what they've learned, and really to develop a robust program here."

Casorso said the mini storage will be meant for people's basic belongings and nothing more. 

"It's not intended to be a mini storage for your household furniture or things like that. It really is going to be about 50 pounds worth of stuff that's stored in a bin," she noted. 

It will be a huge weight off Dallier's shoulders, as well as others on the streets. 

CMHA to offer 'safe suites' in Kamloops