Sandy Coolidge places a carnation in memory of her friend Nephie Dave during the 6th annual Homeless Memorial at Polson Park Thursday. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Memorial remembers North Okanagan’s most marginalized

Prayers and flowers for those who have died on the streets

While the loss of any life is too much, Chuck Harper believes the death toll on Vernon’s homeless is easing.

“We only lost eight that I can count this year, and it’s down, in years before it was 20 and 30,” the North Okanagan Community Chaplain told an intimate crowd at the sixth annual Homeless Memorial Thursday in Polson Park.

But more still needs to be done to ensure more lives aren’t lost, according to Harper as well as others who spoke at the event.

“We need more dry shelters, need more detox centres and we need more beds here in Vernon,” said Harper, who also battled with addiction, but thanks faith for getting, and keeping, him sober.

Speaking from experience, being young and sleeping on the streets, Harper says we are all just one job loss, one car accident or one trauma away from potentially being homeless ourselves.

“We are not immune.”

blackpress.tv

He recalls one homeless lady’s mother’s words, at her memorial.

“Her mom said something to me that none of us should never forget, ‘my daughter was more than her addiction.’

“Our men and women have lives, have stories, have moms and dads and daughters and sons, spouses and loved ones.”

Meanwhile one RCMP officer who returned to the area recently after being out of province for awhile, says the homeless situation is alarming.

“When I arrived about a month ago and my boss took me downtown, I was shocked,” said Insp. Kevin Keen.

“But not so shocking was what I saw from the community,” he added of groups and individuals giving to people when they are in need.

My Place, the latest housing facility constructed in town, was applauded. Many agreed that more of these housing units are needed. But one woman, who used to be homeless, points out that My Place is not enough.

“We need to remember those beds that they made they are taken from the Howard House and the Howard House is going to be shutting down therefore we aren’t going to have those eds anymore,” said Maggie King.

READ MORE: Meet Vernon’s newest homeless outreach team

READ MORE: Memorial pays tribute to Vernon’s homeless residents


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

North Okanagan Community Chaplain Chuck Harper bows is prayer as he kneels at the foot of the Greater Vernon homeless memorial rock at Polson Park Thursday afternoon. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Just Posted

Water quality advisory issued for Sunnybrae water system

Not a boil-water advisory but users urged to take precaution

Uptown Tim Hortons intersection in Salmon Arm bumped from traffic circle plan

Shuswap Street and 10th Avenue SW, Kal Tire at 5th Avenue and 10th Street SW now top priorities

Next for Salmon Arm underpass: build new tracks to avoid construction area

‘Pretty big area’ of downtown to be affected, city staff hope to keep impact to a minimum

Shuswap fire departments gear up for annual toy and food drives

Donation-gathering event very important for Eagle Valley Community Support Society

Salmon Arm chosen for suicide prevention study

City stood out for efforts already being undertaken in the community

Kelowna remembers road crash victims

The eighth annual the World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims was held in Kelowna

Back-to-back car fires in Vernon

Two SUVs engulfed in flames snuffed by firefighters in two weeks on Commonage Road

Vernon man wanted by police

RCMP ask for public’s help in locating man charged with aggravated assault

Woman calls 911 to say she was late for train, asks Ontario police for ‘emergency ride’

Peel Regional Police received more than 180,000 improper calls so far this year

It could take you 218 years to save up for a house in this B.C. neighbourhood

It would take 27 years in the most affordable city in the Lower Mainland

Historical Society branch works to preserve Summerland history

Names proposed for roundabouts to honour local heritage

NeighbourLink Summerland coordinates Christmas dinner matchup

This Christmas will be sixth annual community event

Princeton council votes to open parts of KVR to motorized vehicles

Sections of the KRV trail through Princeton will be opened next year… Continue reading

Beat the winter blahs with Ancora harmonies

Wintersongs Friday, Nov. 22 in Vernon and Saturday, Nov. 23 in Salmon Arm

Most Read