The Loop Community Resource Centre, a drop-in centre for the homeless in North Kamloops, is cutting services and hours of operation as a result of a funding shortfall.
Glenn Hilke of The Loop said almost 20 agencies applied for $670,000 in available Reaching Home federal funds, which flow through the city. The group behind the Loop, the Lived Experience Community Life and Peer Skills Program, applied for $188,000 in funding and said it has received $38,000.
Hilke said the group hoped to use the money requested to continue daily service into the evening, with three meals per day at the drop-in centre at Tranquille Road and MacKenzie Avenue.
That schedule was piloted in the last two months.
However, without the funding, Hilke said the Loop will be forced to close earlier (shutting the doors on weekdays at 7 p.m., rather than 10 p.m., and on weekends at 2 p.m., rather than 7 p.m.).
Hilke said closing earlier means fewer opportunities to spend with people on the streets to try to help them to get into shelters. He said as the day wears on, people wear down, meaning there is typically greater opportunity to help get people into shelter later at night.
Hilke questioned the application review process and said the group is working to seek out bridge funding.
Meanwhile, Hilke believes The Loop has become a “punching bag” on social media and throughout the city, but argued it is only a small piece of the landscape of social services. He is asking for creative problem solving.
“Our staff and volunteers are extraordinary people and to get blamed for the fact that there is an opioid overdose crisis throughout the province and here in Kamloops, that there is a housing crisis, that there is a mental-health crisis,” he said. “I mean, Jesus, it would be a hell of a lot worse if people didn’t have this service.”
The city previously designated the address that houses The Loop a nuisance property due to excessive calls for police and ambulance response.
City of Kamloops social and community development supervisor Ty Helgason said the city had received funding recommendations from the community advisory board and it is conducting its due diligence, evaluating agencies that have been recommended for funding.