Salmon Arm approved for worker based in Vernon to support homeless

While application to Ministry of Social Development gets nod, one to BC Housing denied

Both good news and not such good news for people who are homeless in Salmon Arm and those who support them.

Applications for a homeless outreach worker from BC Housing as well as a community integration specialist (CIS) from the B.C. Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction have been submitted and supported by local social service agencies.

The two jobs are described as different but complementary.

Inquiries from the Observer about the status of those applications reveals that one has been approved, the other not.

Salmon Arm will be getting help from a community integration specialist based out of Vernon, starting in September.

States an email from the ministry: “Salmon Arm is to be supported by staff from the North Okanagan CIS team; specifically there will be 2 Community Integration Specialists located in Vernon who will begin working in September.”

Asked if the specialists will be coming to Salmon Arm, the answer appears to be yes.

“Community Integrations Specialists based in Vernon will be working with clients and service providers in Salmon Arm and providing supports to meet the needs of that community.”

Read more: Salmon Arm restaurant helps keep homeless people warm

Read more: Homeless tenters must move for four-laning preparation

Regarding a homeless outreach worker from BC Housing, the answer is no.

“BC Housing is not hiring a new outreach worker at this time. To make sure people experiencing homelessness have the supports they need, the Province recently announced a supportive housing project that includes 38 new homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness with staff onsite providing 24/7 support.”

The email included a link to a news release describing the housing project being built at 540 Third St. SW that will include 67 units of affordable housing as well as 38 units of supportive housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

BC Housing also stated it already funds 62 spaces for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Salmon Arm: 16 at the temporary Lighthouse Emergency Shelter run by the Salvation Army, 18 supportive housing spaces at SILA House run by Shuswap Independent Living Association (SILA), and 28 supportive housing spaces at Foxridge, run by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Read more: Five years ago, homeless man ‘had everything’

Read more: Panhandling bylaw – Homeless man thinks it should target only aggressive panhandlers

Read more: Fines added to Salmon Arm’s panhandling bylaw to be used as last resort

Dawn Dunlop, executive director of the Shuswap/Revelstoke branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association and a longtime advocative for housing, said she is really excited about the CIS position.

“It’s a much-needed outreach service delivery model. We’re excited to be working with the ministry with this new model.”

Asked about it being based out of Vernon, she said it will depend on how it plays out. She said she’s happy the person will have dedicated days in Salmon Arm and hopes they will be accessible via phone at other times.

Regarding the BC Housing denial, she said social agencies will continue to advocate for the much-needed program.

“For some reason Salmon Arm and the Shuswap were left off the list (for homeless outreach workers) almost a decade ago… We’ve always said we’re really happy with the BC Housing investment in this community. We’ve got a very large project underway so thank you very much, but we’re still going to continue to advocate for what we need.”

Here is a ministry job description of a CIS: “The Community Integration Specialist is responsible for directly engaging with some of the most vulnerable citizens of British Columbia, working in the community to establish eligibility for support and negotiates the provision of resources and services with external stakeholders, community partners and other agencies.”

From BC Housing: Outreach workers meet their clients where they are – on the street, in a shelter, or in a temporary place. Outreach workers can meet with you to determine your housing needs, connect or introduce you to required services, and try to connect you with housing that’s appropriate and available.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘I felt betrayed’: North-Okanagan Shuswap NDP candidate responds to Trudeau brownface photo

Harwinder Sandhu dismisses comments that there are bigger issues to focus on

Vehicle thefts prompt plea from Salmon Arm RCMP

Public asked to help by removing valuables and keys, locking vehicles up

Shuswap Theatre reduces barriers with inclusive opening of Wizard of Oz

Relaxed conventions opens experience to people with autism, dementia, sensory disorders

Lego robotics to woodworking 101 at Salmon Arm’s Innovation Centre

Experienced Shuswap instructors share their passions through educational programs

Selfie station provides colourful backdrop to photogenic Salmon Arm building

Innovation Centre photo attraction is expected to be complete by the end of September

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

B.C. Liberal leader says private sector development will help housing affordability

Andrew Wilkenson spoke in Kelowna during a real estate conference

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

Human case of West Nile virus reported in Okanagan

B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed case reported in August

Murder charges laid after body pulled from Fraser River ID’ed as missing man

Accused also face one count each of attempted murder in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incident

B.C. MLA’s former constituency assistant charged with fraud, breach of trust

Charges announced Sept. 19 more than two years after Martin fired Desmond Devnich for alleged thefts

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

LETTER: Democracy concerns must be addressed

Critical issues keep some from voting

Most Read