Liberal MLA Norm Letnick wants more from the province on issues surrounding supportive housing
Re: New Supportive Housing Announcement - 130 McCurdy Road, Kelowna
I have just received an email announcing the construction and operation of another supportive housing project in Rutland. The people of Rutland are very generous and caring and have done more than their fair share when it comes to housing the hardest to house. However since the opening of the Heath House and Hearthstone facilities I as the local MLA have heard from many residents that they are feeling overwhelmed by the increased number of people openly using drugs, exposure to used needles, and general sense of feeling unsafe in their own neighbourhood.
I understand the Canadian Mental Health Association as the operator believes it has little control over much of what is happening in the area but nevertheless is leading a collective effort to develop a strategy to address these neighbourhood issues. I thank them for that.
As a long-time volunteer and supporter of housing initiatives that assist the hardest to house and others I also support the City of Kelowna’s Journey Home Strategy. However to earn the social license required for additional supportive housing projects to proceed I believe it’s the responsibility of the Provincial government and its partner agencies to demonstrate that they can house people actively taking drugs without adversely impacting their surrounding neighbourhood. Currently that is not the case.
Therefore in the interest of respect to the people of Rutland and in the long term interest of achieving harmonious progress on the important work of the Journey Home task force I’m asking you to pause this new supportive housing project until the issues surrounding the existing Rutland projects are resolved to their neighbourhood’s satisfaction or alternatively create housing which has a better chance of meeting with community support.
As always I offer my time and experience to assist in any way to achieve our mutual goals.