Penticton city council has unanimously shot down an application from BC Housing to keep a shelter for people experiencing homelessness open for an additional year. (Jesse Day - Western News)

Penticton city council has unanimously shot down an application from BC Housing to keep a shelter for people experiencing homelessness open for an additional year. (Jesse Day - Western News)

Penticton council denies extension of cold weather shelter

The Victory Church shelter will now be told to cease operations April 1

Penticton city council has unanimously shot down an application from BC Housing to keep a shelter for people experiencing homelessness open for an additional year.

The temporary Victory Church winter shelter at 352 Winnipeg Street will now close April 1 – when it was originally intended to close.

Council originally reluctantly approved the temporary shelter in October 2020.

City staff will now tell BC Housing and Penticton and District Society for Community Living (PDSCL) to cease operations at the shelter as of April 1.

BC Housing had applied for an application to keep the shelter open until March 31, 2022, citing the need for additional shelter space due to COVID-19 as well as the general need for shelter space in the community.

Coun. Katie Robinson was the first to suggest the city deny BC Housing’s application in the council meeting March 2.

Robinson suggested it was important that council keep its promise to the residents that the shelter would only be temporary.

Many residents in the area have voiced concerns about the shelter, including a petition with about 130 signatures delivered to city hall.

“We made it very clear it was just temporary and we need to stick to that,” Robinson said.

“Communication is so sorely lacking with BC Housing that it somewhat boggles the mind sometimes.”

“I think we can probably agree this is one of the most inappropriate sites we have sever seen, right beside seniors housing, downtown, the list goes on and on…we did not get what we were promised from BC Housing.”

Coun. Julius Bloomfield echoed Robinson’s sentiments in that by closing the shelter April 1, the city is simply holding BC Housing to its original promise.

Bloomfield also said that determining proper location criteria for shelters is very important. As part of the motion passed, the city will also begin the process of identifying specific location criteria for homeless shelters.

As Penticton currently does not have an identified plan for shelter locations it can make it difficult for service providers like BC Housing, Interior Health, the province and others to understand the city’s expectations when selecting a location for a shelter or housing, said a city staff report to council. The location criteria selection will aim to identify areas suitable for housing facilities for those experiencing homelessness.

Coun. Judy Sentes pointed out that many have asked why council did not suggest the former bus barn building on Ellis Street as a temporary shelter.

According to Sentes, council did in fact offer this space, but BC Housing said it would not work for them.

Coun. Frank Regehr voiced his support for the motion but was quick to note the city still has a lot of work to do to address the homeless crisis.

“Unfortunately the motion being made is not a solution, and approving option two (extending the shelter) is not a solution either,” Regehr said.

The Victory Church shelter was first approved by council in October 2020, as a temporary winter shelter providing up to 42 beds for people experiencing homelessness as temperatures began to drop.

The need for the shelter came as Penticton’s permanent winter shelter at Compass Court on Main Street was not able to accommodate the usual number of people due to COVID-19 public health orders.

100 More Homes Penticton has estimated there is at least 100 people living in Penticton without access to shelter.

Housing and Homelessness

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

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
Kootenay-Columbia MP pans federal budget

Conservative Rob Morrison says budget doesn’t have a plan for long-term spending priorities

A view of the Jordan River from the trail in the area, during the summer. There are two new gravel pits up for consideration by the province. The area is deemed to be ecologically sensitive. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: When did Revelstoke become gravel pit central?

Two new gravel pits are being proposed near the Jordan River

Photo: pixabay.com
Morning Start: Why do dogs like squeaky toys?

Your morning start for Tuesday, April 20, 2021

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Kate Budau’s flat tire outside of Glenmore Elementary School on Monday. (Contributed)
Kelowna mom searches for Good Samaritans who helped her change a tire

Woman looking for two dads who helped her after her tire popped in the Glenmore Elementary School drop-off area on Monday

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Most Read