Mayor of Trail Raises New Concern about Homelessness
The Mayor of Trail is encouraged the city's homelessmess problem is on the provincial government's radar.
However, despite positive meetings with M-L-A Katrine Conroy, as well as the ministers of housing and municipal affairs, Lisa Pasin has several concerns including the next heatwave.
“I’m worried about everyone on the street that doesn’t have the basic supports, worried about winter coming and us not having adequate capacity for housing the vulnerable people going forward,” said Pasin.
Conroy feels the meeting between council and B-C housing is a positive step.
“B-C Housing recently met with Trail City Council to talk about the communities needs and they’re taking that feedback and looking at the community as a whole and what areas they can look at for further expansion of B-C Housing,” said the M-L-A.
Pasin said she understands the province is under considerable pressure and demand for funding because of the pandemic, but stresses the need for a permanent homeless shelter.
“Or even a shorter term strategy because winter is going to be upon us and we are still going to have vulnerable people. I’m not sure if the capacity of the (temporary) shelter is going to increase because of COVID, but we are going to be short,” said Pasin.
Conroy said she understands council wants action quicker than the provincial government can deliver.
“I know they’re frustrated that things don’t move as fast as people would like, I know that there are a number of subsidized housing units in Trail, but we need to look at more,” said the long-time representative for the constituency.
City Council and the R-C-M-P have said Trail’s homelessness situation has been adversely affected by the fact the lone addiction treatment facility in the area is at Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital.
Conroy hopes to add more in the future.
“The Ministry of Mental and Addictions along with the Ministry of Health has been expanding the number of treatment beds over the province and looking at of course the bigger centres, but starting to look at the Interior as well, the smaller areas where there is definitely a need,” said Conroy.
Organizers of a proposed permanent shelter in downtown Trail have been awaiting B-C Housing funding, hoping to increase capacity from the temporary facility from nine-to-18.
Pasin has called homelessness the city’s biggest problem and urges residents to continue to lobby the province through the City of Trail webpage.