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

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

Just Posted

Victoria considers extending free transit passes for youth

Motion for extension of funding comes to council July 16

West Shore RCMP responds after reports of man masturbating on bus

52-year-old man charged with committing an indecent act in a public place

Saanich bans municipal rodenticide use after owl deaths

District unanimously approves ban and community education

Police respond to successful Facebook scam on Oak Bay resident

Petty thievery in King George Terrace where plants, gargoyle are missing

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep Saanich drainage pipe

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read