Homeless population reacts to backlash on Sutherland Avenue

With an increase in activity of the homeless population along Sutherland Avenue behind the Capri Shopping Centre, several businesses in that area are urging City Council to take action.

Some businesses are thinking about moving, while others are suggesting that the homeless population be removed from the area.

Bruce Cameron has been homeless for years, and says it's unfair to put all the blame on those who are out on the streets. 

“When you get right down to it, they don’t want the stigma of the homeless people and all of that,” says Cameron. “And really, they created the situation themselves."

Cameron says the bylaws and fines that many homeless people deal with are too harsh, and can make it difficult to access the services and help that they need.

Another man hanging around Sutherland Avenue named Jamis says a lot of the treatment that homeless people get from businesses in the area is unwarranted

“Their security guards are really judgemental, and if you even look slightly homeless, they will kick you out of their store, and you get a lifetime ban from their place,” says Jamis. “I’m not out to hurt anybody, I just want to be myself and be treated fairly like anyone else.”

Sutherland Avenue behind Capri Mall is outside the Red Zone - an area in downtown Kelowna where repeat offenders can be forcibly removed from.

Councillor Ryan Donn recently met with several businesses in the area, and has asked them to present their concerns to City Council.