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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rezoning proposed for Salmon Arm farmland to allow for future development

Portion of parcel in agricultural land reserve will be sold to large-scale farming operation

Salmon Arm truck stop task force on hold

Mayor waiting on highway construction and related negotiations

Collision at Salmon Arm intersection

Emergency crews responding

Shuswap firefighter ascends Vancouver high rise for fundraiser

Michael Esau climbed more than 700 steps in full gear for B.C. Lung Association

Campaign promotes Syilx/Okanagan language and culture

To support initiative, Nsylixcen t-shirts and water bottles are being distributed across Okanagan

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

Use of new trailer donated to Salmon Arm horse rescue society

Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue Society grateful for support of Kamloops business

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Volunteers share amazing memories of Vancouver Olympic games

A decade ago this month, Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. Approximately… Continue reading

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

Most Read