With the recent decision by the City of Vernon to dismantle two homeless camps, it is hard to believe that there is space for these individuals within our current homeless shelter capacity.
If there was space, why aren’t they there right now?
Homelessness is an issue with many causes, but it is hard to address the underlying causes if an individual’s primary concern is simply trying to stay warm throughout the night.
Having a secure place to sleep and store your belongings is a start to finding a more permanent solutions.
But where do we find these beds?
We have a resource available to us in Vernon that is not available in many other B.C. communities – the Vernon Army Camp.
With the ability to house hundreds of cadets in the summer, only two dormitory buildings would be required for those in need.
The army camp is on the city bus route and is close to social service agencies and other resources in the downtown core.
Sitting unused for 10 months of the year, there would be no need to provide additional beds in the community lessening the strain on our overworked and underfunded social service organizations.
While there are obstacles, such as where they would reside in the summer, or who would oversee the housing, these are challenges that once overcome, could end homelessness in Vernon.
The Department of National Defense protects all citizens.
Let’s use those resources to protect the vulnerable in our community.
There is no reason why anyone has to sleep outside in the cold.