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Storage facility proving popular with homeless, manager says

Better signage, looser rules and word of mouth are being credited for increased use of a storage facility for the homeless in downtown Kamloops. Mini-storage facility co-ordinator Chris Butcher said 53 of 65 bins at the facility are currently in use.
homeless storage facility
This building at 48 West Victoria St., across from city hall, is used as a storage facility for the belongings of the city's homeless. Police are looking into a March 17 incident in which an alleged assault occurred at the east side of the building.

Better signage, looser rules and word of mouth are being credited for increased use of a storage facility for the homeless in downtown Kamloops.

Mini-storage facility co-ordinator Chris Butcher said 53 of 65 bins at the facility are currently in use.

“They like it,” Butcher told KTW. “It’s very convenient.”

The facility opened in April at 48 West Victoria St. courtesy a partnership between the City of Kamloops and the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society.

It offers a place to store belongings, as well as harm-reduction equipment, cellphone charging, needle disposal and an address for those who need a place to send their mail.

A community nurse also drops in on Fridays between 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. to conduct private consultations with the homeless.

It took some time for people to start using the facility when it first opened. Butcher said it takes time to get the word out to the homeless via word of mouth.

“The clientele that we’re dealing with, the homeless, street people, they don’t look at notices,” he said.

Signage has also increased, with a sandwich board placed in front of the building when it is open. The rules have also been slightly tweaked to make the service more convenient.

While people were initially required to check in every three days, that number has now increased to seven.

“It was changed because it was inconvenient,” Butcher said. “Everyone’s walking around. It’s not like Vancouver, where you have to check in every day.”

Some people have left town and stored their belongings for up to three months. Butcher said those clients use a phone to check in with an identification number.

Butcher said there have been no issues related to items that are not allowed to be stored, including weapons, food and medication. Laundry services are still in the works for a later date.