Chrissy Brett, here seen at Goldstream Park in Langford in late September, questions why the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC) is changing the terms of an arrangement to house 25 people. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Homeless leader wants Saanich shelter to accommodate entire tent city group

Chrissy Brett questions why Victoria Native Friendship Centre could choose to scatter tent city residents

The executive director of a Saanich-area cold weather shelter says he is expecting to fill 25 spaces that will open up on Oct. 1, but all of those spaces won’t necessarily be filled with homeless campers from Camp Namegans currently living at Goldstream Park.

Ron Rice, executive director of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC), said Monday morning he is not sure how many people from the homeless camp will end up at the Saanich facility.

Some 2,000 homeless people currently live in Greater Victoria and the West Shore camp represents a small fraction of it, he said. While it has drawn a lot of attention in symbolizing the larger issue, shelters need to take a look at the bigger picture instead of focusing on only a small section of the greater homeless population.

RELATED: Cold weather shelters in Victoria to open Oct. 1

Rice plans to meet with officials from other shelters around the region to discuss the best way forward, as the camp in Goldstream Park must move again this week after the province gave a deadline of Oct. 1.

Some shelters will able to accommodate couples, others will take in people with pets and there are still some others that are able to fulfill more different needs, Rice added.

He made these comments after leadership of the homeless camp in Goldstream Park publicly questioned the provincial government’s commitment to finding a longterm solution, as to why 25 people currently staying together in a provincial campground would not be allowed to stay together in a shelter.

Chrissy Brett, one of the camp leaders,wondered Sunday why the VNFC has expressed concerns about housing those 25 people from Goldstream Park.

RELATED: Tent city holds a rally in front of Goldstream Park campground

Camp Namegans, as the tent city describes itself, posted to its Facebook page Sunday morning that the provincial government had offered in writing to shelter or house 25 out of 34 people staying at the camp on Thursday.

This was to be part of an agreement with the provincial government that gave campers until Monday to vacate the park.

According to the post, the VNFC later expressed concern with housing that many people from the camp in one place.

RELATED: Westshore residents hold forum to voice frustration with Goldstream Park homeless camp

“Right now, we are being offered 19 shelter mats,” the posting reads. “The NDP is lying when it says that it is housing campers.”

Brett wondered why the homeless shelter has chosen to break up what she called the “Namegans family.”

“How can a homeless shelter say I’m too scared of those 25 homeless people, so I’ll take 10 and then scatter the rest to even…even less healthy shelters?” she said.

She said this development is detrimental for individuals, who need proper indoor housing, “not a rubber mat on a gym floor, where couples can’t sleep besides each other, and pets [are] not allowed.”

RELATED: Victoria organization says homelessness needs to be seen through an Indigenous lens

Rice said Brett’s comments are inaccurate and the VNFC is deciding today how many people they will accept.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Two Sidney seniors struck by vehicle with foggy windows in marked crosswalk

Driver fined for failure to yield, limited visibility caused by foggy windows

Hundreds flock to the Bay for annual Unwrap the Glam Gala

Glamorous event supports mental health initiatives across Canada

Quebec City beats Victoria for lowest unemployment rate in Canada

Victoria’s unemployment rate was 3.2 per cent in October

Barbecue cooks up benefits for Movember foundation

Father’s battle with prostate cancer encourages Victoria man to support the cause

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Campbell River RCMP officer assaulted during traffic stop

Officer expected to make a full recovery; had been conducting impaired driving investigation alone

BC SPCA seeks help after senior cat attacked by dog twice

Nine-year-old tabby named Meow Meow will need her front leg amputated

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Abbotsford police chief mulls more enforcement of homeless lawbreakers

‘When all else has failed we have to hold people accountable,’ Police Chief Mike Serr tells council

Striking Vancouver hotel workers, employer reach ‘tentative’ agreement

Employees of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia have been out at picket lines since talks broke off on Sept. 21

RCMP cut free activists chained to Kelowna bank, placed under arrest

The group is protesting Interior Savings Credit Union’s support of Kelowna Ribfest

Cell phone tickets worse tax grab than speed limits, SenseBC says

Distracted driving statistics questioned as B.C. tickets pile up

Most Read