Hon. Murray Rankin, K.C.
Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
and Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing
Room 323, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X4
Dear Minister Rankin,
Re: Follow-up on the winter shelter crisis in Salmon Arm
Thank you for meeting with me briefly on November 24, 2022, regarding the lack of overnight shelter for the unhoused community in Salmon Arm. I am writing to follow up on our conversation and discuss the next steps in finding a solution to this unacceptable situation that is forcing people to sleep on the streets in freezing temperatures.
Your office and BC Housing said the lack of available property is why some folks in Salmon Arm are still having to sleep outside in the extreme cold. My office has identified two appropriately-sized properties in Salmon Arm as possible temporary shelter locations: 241 Beatty Avenue and 1490 – 10th Avenue SW. The landowners have been in touch with BC Housing regarding a short-term lease.
Additionally, I have identified short-term accommodation units that can be deployed within a few days and operational within a week. Examples include Summit Camps, Horizon North, Britco & Atco, all of whom you can get in touch with. Additionally, operators are available in Salmon Arm and the City is willing and able to work with BC Housing to find a solution. Given that similar types of shelters are operated by BC Housing elsewhere in the province, why is BC Housing so reluctant to initiate this solution for Salmon Arm?
Time is of the essence, and I ask you to ensure the timely delivery of shelter space, which is what we have been asking for since this situation emerged. Solving this issue and providing people with the shelter, warmth and dignity they deserve requires urgency. I am happy to meet with you, your staff and BC Housing representatives to discuss the possible solutions I have just outlined. I look forward to your prompt reply.
MLA for Shuswap
CC: Mike Bernier, MLA for Peace River South & Official Opposition Critic for Housing