COW ELECTION 2014

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Okanagan BC Homelessness near Vernon and Kelowna BC

Many homeless people are working.
More than one quarter (27%) of homeless people included in the April 2007 survey were working full or part time. Community agencies report increasing number of working poor accessing services such as meal programs.

All levels of Government should only spend as much as the person with the lowest income can afford.

Let the rich donate, if they want more than they need.

Comment Form

LAST UPDATE October 10, 2014

Click on your refresh button in the top menu, to be sure you see any updates.

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Raise the Rates'

Low Cost Dental Access in Vernon BC
http://www.communitydentalaccess.ca/
For more information, call McMillan at 250-546-8681 or Turner at 250-558-5877

www.catchcoalition.ca

Inn From The Cold website
Inn from the Cold Kelowna has partnered with several local restaurants to put on a series of monthly dinners to benefit the homeless

5 DAYS FOR THE HOMELESS

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Food Banks are DeGrading

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Someone wrote us an email telling us this.  We have not verified this information.

The Social Planning Council has a program for people who want furniture. You have to be on a waiting list. Same thing for the Upper Room Mission. There's something called Neighbour Link. You can get furniture from them if you want to be on a list. There's the Alliance Church. Not only do they offer free clothes but they also have a free furniture program. The Gleaners Society accepts donations of furniture for poor people.

There are a lot of free services in Vernon that a person could take advantage of. You can place community notices in the Morning Star. You can place community notices on Shaw Cable ten. I think that the radio stations offer free time to community organizations. At least they did ten or twelve years ago. There's a credit union down at the north end of town that has a free meeting place for community organizations.

CORRECTION

 If you go to the Upper Room Mission you won't get on any list. You have to keep checking at the actual mission if you want something. You may only end up with a mattress. They don't give away things at the boutique. It seems like they don't put you on a list at the Social Planning Council anymore. You have to go in and ask and ask. The Gleaner's have furniture but you have to pay a price. Not sure what. They haven't responded to my email yet.

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Castanet.net Poll

Do you agree with the B.C. Finance Committee that the minimum wage should be raised?

Yes 952
No 130
Total votes: 1082

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I AM NO LONGER HERE

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IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED!

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Food Hamper Expiry Dates

For people making food donations.  Please don't empty your cupboards of food with an expiry date of 2008 to make your donation with.  This just makes for needless work for volunteers.  If you don't want to eat old food, do you think patrons of the food hampers want to eat it?  One food hamper we are aware of contained 9 items of food with an expiry date of 2008.  The food is three years expired and was thrown in the garbage where it belongs.  The items included 1 canned milk, 1 box graham wafer crackers, 5 canned soup, and 2 boxes of cereal.

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The minimum wage in BC was increased to $10.25/hour Tuesday. Should it go up to $11.25/hr in six months as suggested by the BC Federation of Labour?

Yes: 75.81%
No: 24.19%

Total Votes: 2629

Source: Castanet.net poll May 6, 2012

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.pdf icon October 9, 2014 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Nothing was mentioned in the Highlights about Director Item - Director Hobson speaking about the Sobering Center, because this was a Director Item.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 9, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (8.38 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 9, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Director Hobson speaking about the Sobering Center - .wma (1.13 MB)

.pdf icon October 9, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Nothing was mentioned in the Agenda about Director Item - Director Hobson speaking about the Sobering Center, because this was a Director Item.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 9, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (8.38 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 9, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Director Hobson speaking about the Sobering Center - .wma (1.13 MB)

.pdf icon October 9, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Board meetings are not usually posted to RDCO's website until after the following meeting which would be October 27th, 2014.  If the minutes are not posted here yet, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are posted there yet.  If you want a copy of the minutes before then, contact RDCO who will have a copy of the minutes at their office within 7 days after you request a copy of the minutes.  This is in accordance to Local Government Act Procedure Bylaws and Enforcement section 794 (5) and Community Charter Other records to which public access must be provided section 97 (2)

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 9, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (8.38 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 9, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Director Hobson speaking about the Sobering Center - .wma (1.13 MB)

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.pdf icon October 9, 2014 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Nothing was mentioned in the Highlights about Director Item - Director Zimmerman speaking about the United Way drive-thru breakfast, because this was a Director item.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 9, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (8.38 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 9, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about about Director Item - Director Zimmerman speaking about the United Way drive-thru breakfast - .wma (238 KB)

.pdf icon October 9, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Nothing was mentioned in the Agenda about Director Item - Director Zimmerman speaking about the United Way drive-thru breakfast, because this was a Director item.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 9, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (8.38 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 9, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about about Director Item - Director Zimmerman speaking about the United Way drive-thru breakfast - .wma (238 KB)

.pdf icon October 9, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Board meetings are not usually posted to RDCO's website until after the following meeting which would be October 27th, 2014.  If the minutes are not posted here yet, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are posted there yet.  If you want a copy of the minutes before then, contact RDCO who will have a copy of the minutes at their office within 7 days after you request a copy of the minutes.  This is in accordance to Local Government Act Procedure Bylaws and Enforcement section 794 (5) and Community Charter Other records to which public access must be provided section 97 (2)

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 9, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (8.38 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 9, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about about Director Item - Director Zimmerman speaking about the United Way drive-thru breakfast - .wma (238 KB)

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.pdf icon September 29, 2014 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Secondary Suite Rezoning Application

Following the close of a Public Hearing, the Regional Board has given second and third reading to a Secondary Suite rezoning application. The proponent would like to develop a suite above an attached garage at 10357 Columbia Way in the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area. Final consideration of the Zoning Amendment Bylaw by the Regional Board will occur once approval is received from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 29, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (6.55 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 29, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 Zoning Amendment Bylaw No 871 223 Adjacent To Columbia Way - .wma (2.01 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 29, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.3 Development Cost Charges Reduction For Affordable Housing - .wma (2.58 MB)

.pdf icon September 29, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 Zoning Amendment Bylaw No 871 223 Adjacent To Columbia Way

.pdf icon Item 6.3 Development Cost Charges Reduction For Affordable Housing

*Note* This is only a snippet, please click links above for entire content

Purpose:
To provide information to the Regional Board regarding Development Cost Charges (DCCs) for affordable housing projects.

Executive Summary:
Based on a request from the District of Peachland that the RDCO waive the DCCs for an affordable housing project for Habitat for Humanity, staff were directed to prepare an information report to the Regional Board addressing the ramifications of waiving DCCs. The Westbank Sewerage Specified Area Development Cost Charge Bylaw does not currently contain provisions for DCC reductions or waivers. Staff consulted with member municipalities, neighbouring regional districts, and other local governments in the area to see whether their DCC bylaws contained provisions for DCC exemptions or reductions for affordable housing.
This report presents those findings as well as other considerations and implications of providing DCC exemptions or reductions.

Recommendation: THAT the Board receive the report for information.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 29, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (6.55 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 29, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 Zoning Amendment Bylaw No 871 223 Adjacent To Columbia Way - .wma (2.01 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 29, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.3 Development Cost Charges Reduction For Affordable Housing - .wma (2.58 MB)

.pdf icon September 29, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Board meetings are not usually posted to RDCO's website until after the following meeting which would be October 9th, 2014.  If the minutes are not posted here yet, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are posted there yet.  If you want a copy of the minutes before then, contact RDCO who will have a copy of the minutes at their office within 7 days after you request a copy of the minutes.  This is in accordance to Local Government Act Procedure Bylaws and Enforcement section 794 (5) and Community Charter Other records to which public access must be provided section 97 (2)

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 29, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (6.55 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 29, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 Zoning Amendment Bylaw No 871 223 Adjacent To Columbia Way - .wma (2.01 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 29, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.3 Development Cost Charges Reduction For Affordable Housing - .wma (2.58 MB)

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.pdf icon September 11, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report

*Note* This is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

Board

037 - Social Development
Social Development Coordinator (SDC) co-organized a community event with colleagues from Interior Health & Canadian Mental Health Association in acknowledgement of Mental Health Week on May 8th, 2014.

West Kelowna Youth Homelessness Action Committee submitted funding request was approved by the Central Okanagan Foundation for an emergency grant to pilot an Emergency Transportation to Shelter "Voucher" program to facilitate access to the Youth Shelter in Kelowna for West Kelowna & Peachland youth who are without options. The Okanagan Boys & Girls Clubs West Kelowna Youth Centre will facilitate and manage funds for this program that was proposed in lieu of a seasonal shelter for West Kelowna.

SDC participates as a member of the Community Advisory Board - Homelessness (Homelessness Partnering Strategy); Board voted to extend existing funded projects for a year pending completion of a new community plan process.

SDC organizing interim participant schedule and continuation of evening outreach volunteer/service provider program at Metro Community. Program scheduled from January until May with SDC to invite community sector participants for a subsequent review of services pre-spring/summer service provision.

SDC assisted Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) with readiness and launch of PIN - Partners Information Network - a new Homelessness Partnering Strategy service provider information exchange website. This KCR site was launched in February, 2014. SDC also provided NOW Canada with information/statistics requested to help support a provincial funding application.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 11, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (10.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 11, 2014 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (3.44 MB)

.pdf icon September 11, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

Minutes of RDCO's Governance and Services Committee are not published to RDCO's website until after being adopted at the following meeting which would be October 9, 2014.  If the minutes are not published here yet, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are published there yet.  If you wish to have a copy of the minutes before this date, you can request a copy from RDCO who will have the document ready at their office to pick up within 7 days.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 11, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (10.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 11, 2014 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (3.44 MB)

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.pdf icon July 17, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5.2 Christene Walsh, RDCO Social Development Coordinator re: Update Sobering & Assessment Centre Resource Overview

Christene Walsh addressed the committee and provided an overview on the need for a sobering centre within the region including:
• An overview of Surrey Quibble Creek Sobering Centre was provided (Fraser Health operates the Centre)
• Action is needed to confirm whether Kelowna can identify and allocate lands for a sobering centre and confirm with IHA to identify operational funding for a centre.

In addition the current homeless stats were provided as well as a proposal for a homeless memorial.
o 34 homeless persons have died locally since 2012.
o City of Vernon has approved a community request for a Homeless Memorial and, to be proactive, a request for Kelowna to consider a site is desired.
o National Homelessness Awareness Week is Oct. 13-19
Discussion:
- From a Board perspective the need for a sobering centre has been identified and the Regional Hospital District Board has set aside funding for the building.
- There is support from clients, social agencies (front line and resources), the RCMP, as well as Westbank First Nation.
- IHA needs to be the lead agency on this initiative.
- Management at IHA says that they are not the decision makers.
- Financials - the question remains what will it cost to build, what are the partnerships, what are the operational costs. Surrey's is managed by Fraser Health. Vancouver Island Health manages the facility in Victoria.
- Staff have prepared preliminary costs in the past but IHA would need to look at what model they would consider and develop the business case. Options include non-profit versus Health Authority.
- Fraser Health will share their operational costs with IHA.
- IHA has said they are interested, they just don't have the funds.
- Regional Board direction is required to move the issue forward to IHA's Board.
- A business case needs to be developed - who would be responsible to do this?
o Need to break log jam at IHA, and need to develop it together with IHA.
o It is not on the list of priorities at IHA.
- WFN would want to be involved, recognize the need for their citizens.
- Need a collaborative approach. Kelowna Council needs to indicate their support for a land site in Kelowna and then go to IHA to confirm their interest and best steps to develop a business plan.

GRAY/STACK
THAT the presentation by Christene Walsh, Social Development Coordinator, on the need for a sobering centre in the Central Okanagan be received for information;
AND FURTHER THAT the Regional Board be requested to:
1. Seek support from Kelowna Council for a land site for a sobering centre in Kelowna;
2. Direct Chair Hobson and Director Gray to meet with IHA to develop a concept of a shared business case and then report back to the Board.

CARRIED Unanimously

EDGSON/FIELDING
THAT consideration of a 'Homeless Memorial Site' in Kelowna be referred to Kelowna Council for consideration.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio July 17, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (35.4 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files July 17, 2014 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 5.2 Social Development Coordinator Update - .wma (20.7 MB)

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.pdf icon April 28, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

10. DIRECTOR ITEMS

f) Central Okanagan Sobering Centre - the question was raised whether Interior Health has operating dollars for a possible sobering centre facility in the Central Okanagan. Staff noted funds are in the Regional Hospital District budget for a possible facility.

GRAY/BAKER
THAT staff be directed to discuss with Interior Health whether operating dollars would be available for a sobering centre in the Central Okanagan.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 28, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (31.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 28, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Gray - Recycling and Sobering Center - .wma (5.01 MB)

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.pdf icon April 28, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

10. DIRECTOR ITEMS

a) Community Action Toward Children's Health (CATCH) has their 2nd Annual Spring Community Resource Exhibit, May 3, 3:00-7:00 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 28, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (31.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 28, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - Given - CATCH - .wma (540 KB)

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Prince Rupert man told disability cheque will be withheld if early retirement isn't taken
by Shaun Thomas - The Northern View - Nov 27, 2013

Lothar Schiese is wondering how to pay the bills after the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation ceased sending his disability cheque because he refused to take early retirement.

The situation began in August when Schiese was told as a ministry client aged 60 to 65, he would need to submit papers showing he had applied for Canadian Pension Plan early retirement benefits, and if the paper were not submitted to the ministry by Oct. 14 it would hold back the November cheque and future assistance “until we are able to determine your ongoing eligibility”.

Schiese said forcing someone to take early retirement and thus give up full retirement benefits under threat of removing social assistance is simply not fair.

“It is like I have no rights, that’s how it feels. It’s like I either sign the papers or go homeless and live in the woods somewhere ... in any other situation, you have recourse to appeal. In my case, nobody is talking to me with advice or the next steps to take,” he said, noting the loss of the cheque has cause excessive mental stress.

“I have no cheque, I have no money ... I don’t think I have a leg to stand on. I have no voice and no connection to anyone to help.”

However, a ministry spokesperson said asking people eligible for early retirement to take it is standard practice across the province.

“Income and disability assistance in B.C. is an income- and asset-tested program of last resort, meaning all individuals are required to pursue all other forms of income before being eligible for provincial assistance. This income includes the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Canada Pension Plan-Disability (CPPD) for which Mr. Schiese is eligible to apply,” said the ministry.

While the ministry notes some people taking early retirement have their retirement income after age 65 negatively impacted, Schiese would not be losing any income in the immediate future.

“The ministry may then provide a “top up” to ensure that the total is equal to current income assistance rates. In Mr. Schiese’s case, he would be eligible for a top-up of up to $906.42 a month.”

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.pdf icon October 10, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5. Delegation

5.1 Community Action Toward Children's Health (CATCH) - Chair Sharon Shepherd re: Update on CATCH's Activities CATCH's chair, Sharon Shepherd addressed the Committee providing an update on the activities including:

• CATCH integration team is made up of many members of the community including members of this Board (Director Fielding, Director Given).
• CATCH was formed in 1998 with funds from the Health Authority and the Ministry of Children and Families.
• Life course problems related to early life problems were highlighted.
• In 2006, it was decided that more attention needed to be given to aboriginal children in our community. Aboriginal CATCH was formed. The partners were highlighted. "Get back to traditional training - we had it right".
• Child Friendly Transportation for Young Children Toolkit has previously been developed.
• State of the Child report is normally done in November around "National Child Day Celebration" - Nov. 15 - 11 :30-1 :00 at the Capri Hotel.
• Working with UBC-O as a partner in a 'neighborhood projects' - working at developing better neighborhood representation for children. What works best to make a great neighborhood.
• Ages & Stages questionnaire - CATCH was instrumental in the collaboration of the Central Okanagan Early Childhood Development community in the discussion of this screening tool. Want this to be a standard tool in our community to identify vulnerable children in the region.

Discussion:
- Who do you see delivering the ASQ questionnaire? IHA delivers at 6 months but their contact stops there. Day cares, child development associations-the plan is to have all day care centres and pre-school centres administer the ASQ.
There is school district representation at the table. ASQ is also designed for parents to administer. The intent is to get referrals from there but the challenge can be long wait lists.
- Is there something local governments are missing? Some areas are being touched however how often are children mentioned in OCPs. Need to consider policy around children--CATCH looks toward policy development in the 0 - 6 age group.
- Interior Health needs to in the forefront in communicating what is available in the community.
- Early invention is critical in diagnosing issues where treatment can be started at an early age. It takes a community to raise a child.

BAKER/BASRAN
THAT the update by the Community Action Toward Children's Health (CATCH) be received for information.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 10, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (29.8 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 10, 2013 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 5.1 CATCH Update - .wma (16.8 MB)

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Food bank cashes out director
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Kelowna - Story: 99842 - Oct 3, 2013

The resignation of Vonnie Lavers as Executive Director of the Kelowna Community Food Bank signals a change in direction for the organization she helped to build.

Vonnie Lavers has stepped down as Executive Director of the Kelowna Community Food Bank

Food bank director and acting Executive Director, Fraser Campbell, says discussions with Lavers, who was making about $100,000 a year, began about a year ago.

While he wouldn't say who initiated those discussions, he did say they came to a head in August when the 'mutual' decision was made that Lavers would leave her position.

"My chairman, and business partner, Cliff Sharples mentioned a shelf life. At the end of a 10-year term, it's time," says Campbell.

"She has done a lot of great things but, it's time to make that transition and we both agreed it is a good time to do it."

Campbell says the food bank will take some time to decide which direction it will move.

The organization is not advertising for a new Executive Director.

One of the new directions could include some form of formal working relationship with other food banks within the Central Okanagan.

"There is a lot of duplication of effort," says Campbell.

"Some of the food banks have some great resources in the protein end of things. They get a lot of meat - they get a lot of sponsors. We have a great amount of bread and most of our local grocery stores support us brilliantly."

He says it would make a lot of sense.

"I think we are at the stage where we need to enter those discussions.

Ironically, those discussions have been going on for about a year.

"Some of those things we are talking about doing. It's not that Vonnie was against those, but it has been in the discussions of how do we do this," says Campbell.

"We have to walk before we run, but it is a very good idea and there are some really good cost savings that can be had and shared."

Lavers did receive a severance package from the Kelowna Community Food Bank and, while Campbell would not get into specifics, with a salary in the $100K a year range and the fact she held the position for more than 11 years, one would presume it was a handsome settlement.

"As this process unwinds, it you look at it from the altruistic idea that every dollar goes to feed a child then, yes, we could drop her on the street Sept 1 and say thank you for coming out," says Campbell.

"But, that's not fair and that's not the way we do things. She did some phenomenal things for us. When you sit down as a prudent board there wasn't a main reason so you have to be fair."

Campbell says Lavers needs to transition.

"That's the way business is done."

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3rd Annual Central Okanagan Living Wage Report

For the third time in as many years, there`s been a rise in the Living Wage required by each pair of working members of a four person Central Okanagan family.

The 2013 Living Wage calculation for the Regional District of Central Okanagan is up an average 4.9% over the previous year`s figure ($17.17). To keep the two parent, two child household out of extreme poverty, each adult must be employed full-time and earn at least $18.01 per hour in order to meet their family`s most basic needs.

The Regional District`s Social Development Program Coordinator says, “While most categories used for the Living Wage calculation increased slightly, there was a notable jump in the costs associated with Child Care. This expense rose approximately 8.5% or $89 per month over 2012.`` Christene Walsh adds, ``Also adding to the increased challenge facing Central Okanagan families is a 4.5% rise in the cost of transportation to just over $492 a month in 2013.

The calculation is based on an established format from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and is endorsed provincially by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition (which maintains the Living Wage for Families website). It reflects the actual costs of living in a community and is different from the Minimum Wage, which is a minimum rate of pay legislated by the Provincial Government. The Central Okanagan Living Wage calculation includes expenses such as food, rent, transportation, child care and education expenses; all considered the basic needs of any family. Government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies are also included in the calculations. Other real life costs such as debt repayment, entertainment (cable, internet), special care of a relative, cigarette smoking and saving for or acquiring home ownership are not part of the Living Wage calculation.

Walsh adds, “Considering a recent announcement that BC is tied with Manitoba regarding the highest child poverty rates in Canada, the Living Wage calculation is important because it encourages all Central Okanagan communities to explore additional innovative ways to help families meet their most basic needs while offering opportunities to get ahead.”

“Talking about the idea of the Living Wage`` she says, ``also gives us the opportunity to highlight some of our valuable local resources that assist day in and day out, throughout the community. It`s important for us to support those agencies, organizations and individuals that come together to help as many people as possible enjoy the best quality of life.”

(July 23, 2013)

Source:  RDCO What's New

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.pdf icon June 24, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

b) Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH)

The question was raised regarding funding provided to CATCH. It was noted that the Regional Hospital District provides $5,000 annually as an operational grant.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 24, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (44.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 24, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about CATCH being funded $5,000 out of the Hospital District funds and is a line item and not a regular grant-in-aid - .wma (1.43 MB)

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.pdf icon May 9, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5.2 John Ritchey, Anna Hunt-Binkley, Campaign Chair and Sharon Shepherd, Honorary Campaign Chair re: Canadian Red Cross for Western Canada Building for Humanity Campaign 'Red Cross House' John Richey and A. Hunt-Binkley, Chair of the Canadian Red Cross - Building Humanity Campaign 'Red Cross House'.

Mr. Richey provided information on the programs of the Red Cross.

- Recently an agreement between the Red Cross and the Province was signed for the provision of emergency response units in the incidents of catastrophic disaster.
- The Mission of the Canadian Red Cross was highlighted. Operate under principle of neutrality, unity, universality.
- Operate anti-bullying programs across schools in Canada as well as a senior abuse program.
- BC Southern Interior's first full-service-Red Cross support and disaster operations centre in Kelowna was opened yesterday.
- Developing core capacity centers to be disaster ready. Recruit-train-support volunteers from current 500+ to over 1,000; build a training centre for volunteers and the public, building disaster centre, fundraise.
- Red Cross House in Kelowna will be a coordination centre for the southern interior.

Director Winsby arrived at 9:30 a.m.

- Budget includes: fundraising initiatives; programs and services; foundation and grants for a total revenue of $11,360,000.
- Introduced Sharon Shepherd, Honorary Campaign Chair and Anna Hunt-Binkley, Campaign Chair for the 'Red Cross House'.
- One of the objectives of the Canadian Red Cross is to enter into a MOU with communities across Canada in regards to public health and safety. When further information is available on this initiative Mr. Richey was asked to provide the information to the RDCO.

EDGSON/GRAY
THAT the presentation on the Building Humanity Campaign 'Red Cross House' be received for information.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio May 9, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (21.2 MB)

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.pdf icon April 22, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting Minutes

2. ADDITION OF LATE ITEMS

6.3 Letters of Support - Central Okanagan Sobering Centre

=======================

6.3 Letters of Support - Central Okanagan Sobering Centre

Social Development Coordinator, Christene Walsh, presented the Board with letters of support for the establishment of a sobering centre in the Central Okanagan.

FINDLATER/FIELDING
THAT the letters of support for the establishment of a sobering centre in the Central Okanagan be forwarded to the Interior Health Authority and local MLAs for information and continuing support of a sobering centre within the Central Okanagan.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 22, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (25.9 MB)

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.pdf icon February 25, 2013 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting

Nothing was mentioned in the Highlights about Director Item Director Gray about Sobering Center because this was a Director Item

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.pdf icon February 25, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Nothing was mentioned in the Agenda about Director Item Director Gray about Sobering Center because this was a Director Item

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.pdf icon February 25, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting Minutes

12. DIRECTOR ITEMS

Nothing was mentioned in the Minutes in regards to Director Item Director Gray about Sobering Center

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.pdf icon November 8, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

6. Finance & Administrative Services

6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report (Year-to-Date - September 30, 2012)
Staff report dated November 1, 2012 outlined the program measures report year to- date September 30, 2012. Staff highlighted the executive summary comments.

- Corporate Services
o Recruitment process for new CAO has begun

- Waste Reduction
o Launch of paper reduction program
o Commercial waste quantities reduced by 2.8%
o Curbside collection radio frequency identification system
  • 1331 non-compliant customers identified and contacted, only 52 reoffenders
o Recycling - market downturn, budget effect

- Environmental Services
o Falcon Ridge Water - exploratory drilling for a new well
o Trepanier Bench Water - fire effects - 110 risk evident
o Leak Detection program for Westshore Water resulted in 43% reduction, and at Killiney Beach 20% of m3 pumped
o RDCO lift stations/collector systems - all pumps being investigated for deterioration
o Killiney Beach Water - reduction to scope of upgrade
o Reduced clerical staff by 0.5 FTE
o WWTP - Stage 3 design work completed.

- Information Systems
o MOU Lake Country has yet to sign the agreement. Concern regarding 2013 impact to partners if Lake Country does not sign on.

- Development Services
o School site acquisition
o Inspection Services - staff reduction
o Dog Control- review report received in October. Implementation plan will be coming forward for Board consideration.
o Noxious insect control - low complaint numbers.

- Protective Services
o Trepanier Fire
o Black Mountain grass fire
o Wilsons Land Volunteer Fire Department - volunteer fire chief leaving

- Regional Rescue
o 4 total EOC activations, 27 ESS activations
o Operation exercise - Sept 13
o Review of service is under way

- Parks Services
o Parkland acquisitions - 3 properties closed
o Mission Creek - upgrade to playground
o Trepanier Creek Greenway fire
o Bear closures
o Interpretation programs 8% increase in participants

- Crime Stoppers
o Vehicle donated to the program
o Sponsorship packages being developed
o Tips provided lead to info on two major homicides

- EDC
o Recruitment of United Airlines flights into Kelowna
o Export development - increased interest from China

- Purchasing
With the hiring of a purchasing manager, total quantifiable savings to date are $201,902, including risk reduction to RDCO, time savings for managers and staff and stronger contracts.
It was noted that the full report is in the Board's Reader file.

Discussion
-It was noted that West Kelowna is interested in receiving further information on the RFID program and staff will update Council in the future.
-West Kelowna will look at trunk lines in the near future. It's a low priority for them.
-School site acquisition - approved by the Province, developers will be required to pay a fee in the future.
-Information provided to Kelowna for review of boundary extension.
-What are the financial implications of reduced recycling and reduced income is there a way to offset costs? Staff is focusing on reduction programs (paper free program) paying less processing costs when it ends up in the recycling bins - it's the only thing that can be done to offset costs. Material is not being returned to the landfill. There is no shutdown for recyclables. The material that is recycled here is sent to relatively local markets (not China) plastics go to the Lower Mainland, paper to Washington. We can stockpile if required but there is no ability for reduced transportation costs as we use local markets. Where does the money go for electronics? The Electronics Stewardship of BC - they run the program, collecting, marketing, hauling, processing and they fund depot operations.

BAKER/EDGSON
THAT the Quarterly Program Measures report year-to-date September 30, 2012 be received for information.

CARRIED

===============

6.2 Briefing on 2013-2017 Financial Plan & Overview of the Process

Staff report dated October 30, 2012 outlined general impacts to consider during the 2013-2017 Financial Plan discussions. Full reporting will be completed through the budgeting process beginning in February. General impacts for 2013 were highlighted as a heads-up for the budgeting process.

BAKER/CONDON
THAT the 2013-2017 Financial Plan overview be received for information.

CARRIED

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.pdf icon November 8, 2012 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

National Child Day Recognition

The Regional Board will send a letter to the Community Action Toward Children’s Health (CATCH) recognizing November 20th as National Child Day. CATCH is a coalition of individuals, agencies, businesses and government representatives that advocate for and raise awareness of the importance of providing the best opportunities for children during their early years.

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.pdf icon November 8, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

9.2 Proclamation - National Child Day, November 20, 2012

It was noted that the Community Action Towards' Children's Health has asked the Regional District to proclaim November 20, 2012 as National Child Day.
Discussion ensued as to whether any proclamations should come forward to the Board table for consideration. The municipal partners highlighted how proclamations are handled at their Council tables including that the Chair can proclaim on his own if he so wishes. At this time, it was suggested that the information be received and that the Board at a future meeting discuss a policy around proclamations.

EDGSON/BLANEIL
THAT the information on the National Child Day received from the Community Action Towards Children's Health be received and a letter of support be forwarded for National Child Day.

CARRIED

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.pdf icon October 22, 2012 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Regionally Significant Projects Approved

The Regional Board has received a letter from the Union of BC Municipalities outlining approval of Federal Gas Tax funding for several Regionally Significant Projects totalling more than $3.5-million. Among the projects approved for Gas Tax funding:

• Regional Active Transportation Project - $2,247,315
• Septic Treatment Upgrades Project - $780,000
• Upgrade and provide backup Centrifuge at Regional Septage Treatment facility - $317,900
• Regional Household Travel Survey - $150,000
• Review and update Regional Air Quality Management Plan - $38,000

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.pdf icon October 22, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda Kelowna City Hall Council Chamber 1435 Water Street

.pdf icon Item 7.3 UBCM Regionally Significant Fund Application Approvals

*Note: This is only a snippet

At its October 4, 2012 meeting, the Gas Tax Agreement's Management Committee made funding decisions for the Regionally Significant Project Fund applications. I am pleased to advise that your applications for the following projects have been
approved for RSP funding of the lesser amount indicated or 100% of the actual eligible costs of each approved project:

Regional Active Transportation Project, $2,247,315.00
Regional Housing Strategy Project, $150,000.00
Air Quality Management Project, $38,000.00
Septic Treatment Upgrades Project, $780,000.00
Centrifuge Project, $317,969.00

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.pdf icon October 22, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

7.3 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) - Approval of Regionally Significant Project Fund Applications (for information only)

FINDLATER/FIELDING
THAT the October 12, 2012 letter from the Union of BC Municipalities confirming approval of the Regional Significant Project Funding for the following projects be received:

• Regional Active Transportation Project $2,247,315
• Regional Housing Strategy Project (Household Travel Survey) - $150,000
• Air Quality Management Project - $38,000
• Septic Treatment Upgrades Project - $780,000
• Centrifuge Project - $317,969

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 22, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (265 MB)

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Taking action on homelessness
Castanet.net - by Grant Scott - Story: 81765 - Oct 12, 2012

Homelessness Action Week in British Columbia comes to an end Sunday.

This year, more than 97,000 BC households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.

Throughout the week, events have highlighted the dedicated efforts of individuals and organizations committed to ending homelessness in communities across the province.

A release issued Friday by the BC Government points out that this year in Kelowna that meant celebrating the completion of the third and final supportive housing development built under a partnership between the province and the City of Kelowna.

The three developments, New Gate Apartments, Tutt Street Place, and Willowbridge, provide 128 apartments for those who were homeless in Kelowna. People have a safe place to live, where they are understood, supported and connected to the services they need to stabilize and rebuild their life.

“The BC Government is committed to ensuring individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness have access to housing and support services. By providing affordable housing with services under one roof, we are creating an environment where individuals’ needs are better met,” says Ben Stewart, Minister of Citizens’ Services and Open Government and MLA for Westside-Kelowna.

In Kelowna, the Province supports 80 emergency shelter spaces and over 400 subsidized apartments units. There are outreach teams that help connect people with the services and supports they need to get off the street, and nearly 400 homes for people with special needs, frail seniors, or women and children at risk of violence.

In total, over $19 million for subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 3,000 Kelowna households is provided.

Homelessness Action Week is an opportunity to learn about homelessness, the work being done to support them, and how to get involved. You can find out more online.

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The cost of living in the Okanagan
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 79818 - Aug 30, 2012

The average family of four needs to bring in a wage of nearly $72,000 a year to make ends meet within the Central Okanagan.

That's the conclusion of the second annual calculation of the Central Okanagan Living Wage. It works out to a yearly increase of more than $600, over figures released in 2011.

According to the calculation, in order to meet the most basic needs to keep them out of extreme poverty, each adult in a two parent, two children household, must be employed full-time and earn at least $17.17 per hour.

Based on the average work week of 35 hours with a combined hourly wage of $34.34, the family of four would need to earn $1,201 a week and $62,498 per year.

In 2011, the per/person hourly wage was $16.98 or $61,807 a year.

Regional District Social Development Coordinator, Christine Walsh, hopes the release of the document will generate dialogue and action around creative ways to help families meet outstanding needs.

"The Living Wage reflects the actual cost of living in a community and shouldn't be confused with the minimum wage; which is a minimum rate of pay legislated by the provincial government," says Walsh.

"Our Living Wage calculation includes expenses such as food, rent, transportation, child care and education expenses - all considered the basic needs of any family. Government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies are also included in the calculations."

Walsh says other costs such as debt repayment, entertainment, special care of a relative, cigarette smoking and saving for or acquiring home ownership were not included.

Using the calculations, a family of four living on the Living Wage line would only have $9.48 left over for savings, after a 12 month period.

The expense break down:
1. Shelter makes up the largest portion of a yearly wage at 25.3%
2. Child care is at 21.4%
3. Food is at 14.6%

"The Living Wage calculation provides employers with some insight as to the economic realities of the costs to live in the Central Okanagan," says Economic Development Director, Robert Fine.

"Many Central Okanagan employers are creatively embracing this kind of investment in their workers which pays dividends by reducing turnover and training costs and building employee loyalty, dedication and improved customer service."

Walsh adds that, considering the median annual family income in 2009 was $67,070 and as family needs to earn at least $62,500 to meet basic necessities, it's important communities explore additional ideas to not only help families get by, but opportunities to get ahead.

"There's so much more that engaged communities, employers and individuals can do to help each other reduce financial and related stress as well as investing in our workplaces and communities," says Walsh.

"We all have a role to play in recognizing and supporting efforts that enable more people to participate in and enjoy our quality of life."

According to figures from other communities around the province, Vancouver has the highest Living Wage at $19.14 per adult followed by Victoria at $18.07.

Residents in Kamloops require a higher hourly wage, ($17.95), than the Central Okanagan.

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Feds cough up some funds for Kelowna's homeless
By Kathy Michaels - Kelowna Capital News - July 05, 2012

Kelowna's frontline workers banded together and managed to get $1.2 million from the federal government to help the area's homeless population get on their feet over the next two years.

"Basically, with this money the focus we have is to engage people who have the most challenges physically and emotionally," said Christene Walsh of the Regional District of Central Okanagan—one of the members of the Kelowna Community Advisory Board on Homelessness that applied for funds from the federal government's Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

"These are the people who utilize the highest level of services and can be the hardest to engage— this money is going to be used for the most complex people."

Once those people have been engaged, some of those dollars will be earmarked for providing housing or the services that will help someone on the brink of homelessness, stay afloat.

Funds will also be used to create a database that will catalogue what services and resources are available, so frontline workers are most effective.

"That will help get information to the people who need it," Walsh said.

Kelowna's homelessness problem has been long lamented, which is why the city's community groups have benefitted from federal funding in various forms for over 12 years.

At last count in 2009—which Walsh thinks could still stand today—there were an estimated 625 homeless residents of Kelowna.

Many of those, however, are considered "hidden homeless" as they're not street people. They're without their own address, couch surfing and piece-mealing together what they need to survive.

Those are the ones that may be tapping into services at the Gospel Mission, which is one of the beneficiaries of federal funding.

With the recession taking a bite out of the financial stability of many, Randy Benson at the mission has seen significant changes.

"From the shelter point of view, our numbers have remained the same, which I think that in part is credited to the fact we're able to house more people," he said.

There are several housing projects constructed in recent years have created space for hundreds of people who would otherwise be homeless, he explained.

There are also more case workers in the city helping those who have fallen through the cracks get on their feet.

"We've been making good strides," he said. "That said, we've seen an increase in number of people needing food. Even though people getting housed, the challenge is to get through the other months, with other things. "

With that in mind, the mission will be using their allocation of funds for outreach work, but each of the seven community partners involved have a different leg of the problem they're working on.

Among those getting funding are the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, Kelowna Gospel Mission, Kelowna Community Resources, Canadian Mental Health Association, John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan, Okanagan Boys & Girls Clubs, and Inn from the Cold .

These community partners are receiving a total of $227,300 (one Aboriginal Homelessness agreement at $49,283 and six Designated Communities agreements at $178,017).

In addition, on June 4, 2012, the Central Okanagan Foundation received approval to be the Community Entity under the HPS’s new Community Entity Model. Over the next two years, the Central Okanagan Foundation will distribute HPS funding of $981,174 to local organizations for the development of housing and support services. This represents $779,948 in Designated Communities funding and $201,266 in Aboriginal Homelessness funding.

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B.C. MLA to live on $610 for one month
CBC News - Nov 28, 2011

Raise the Rates' Constance Barnes (l) and Jean Swanson (r) joined MLA Jagrup Brar (c) to announce his bid to live on welfare for one month.

Raise the Rates' Constance Barnes (l) and Jean Swanson (r) joined MLA Jagrup Brar (c) to announce his bid to live on welfare for one month. (CBC News)

B.C. NDP MLA Jagrup Brar will temporarily give up his home and salary and live on $610 welfare for one month after accepting a challenge from campaign group, Raise the Rates.

The Surrey Fleetwood MLA, who earned a monthly average of $10,546 in the last fiscal year, has agreed to spend January living on the income support and shelter allowance for a single person expected to look for work in British Columbia.

"I want to experience first-hand what life is like being on welfare or in poverty," Brar said, speaking at the Surrey Urban Mission on Monday.

Raise the Rates, a coalition of B.C groups that want governments to reduce poverty, issued the challenge to all B.C. MLAs in May last year, hoping to increase welfare and raise the minimum wage in British Columbia.

"Obviously, if you have a families-first agenda, the first priority should be people on welfare," coalition spokeswoman Jean Swanson said, issuing the challenge.

Welfare rates in B.C. were last increased in 2007. Equivalent rates total $599 in Ontario, $583 in Alberta and $913 in Saskatchewan.

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.pdf icon December 12, 2011 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Regional Board Members
Chair Robert Hobson Councillor, City of Kelowna
Vice-Chair James Baker Mayor, District of Lake Country
Jim Edgson Central Okanagan West Electoral Area
*Patty Hanson Central Okanagan East Electoral Area
*Walter Gray Mayor, City of Kelowna
*Colin Basran Councillor, City of Kelowna
*Andre Blanleil Councillor, City of Kelowna
*Gail Given Councillor, City of Kelowna
*Gerry Zimmermann Councillor, City of Kelowna
Keith Fielding Mayor, District of Peachland
Doug Findlater Mayor, District of West Kelowna
Duane Ophus Councillor, District of West Kelowna
Mickey Werstuik Councillor, Westbank First Nation
(Non-Voting Member)

* means new member of the board

Board-Committee Appointments

The Regional Board has approved some Director appointments to various statutory committees such as the Sterile Insect Release program, the Okanagan Basin Water Board and the Okanagan Regional Library board. The Regional Board will review the remaining committees and advisory commission structure in the New Year.

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.pdf icon December 12, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Regional Board Appointments.pdf

Agenda No: 5.1
Mtg Date: Dec 13, 2011

Regional Board Report

TO: Regional Board
DATE: December 8,2011
FROM: Mary Jane Drouin Corporate Services Coordinator
SUBJECT: Board Appointments (External)

The following external appointments are required to be made at the December 12th Board meeting:

  • Okanagan Basin Water Board - 3 Directors and 3 Alternates (Director Keith Fielding from Peachland, ??)
  • Sterile Insect Release Board - 2 Directors and 1 Alternate
  • Okanagan Film Commission Board - 1 Director and 1 Alternate (Director Andre Blanleil from City of Kelowna, with Director Duane Ophus from West Kelowna as alternate)
  • Okanagan Regional Library - 1 Electoral Area Director and 1 Electoral Area Alternate (COW Director Jim Edgson and Director Patty Hanson from COE as alternate)
  • Economic Development Commission Advisory Board - 1 Electoral Area Director and 1 Electoral Area Alternate (Director Colin Basran from City of Kelowna and Director Duane Ophus from West Kelowna as alternate)
  • Southern Interior Beetle Action Committee - 1 Director and 1 Alternate (Director Jim Edgson from Central Okanagan West and Director Patty Hanson from Central Okanagan East as the alternate)
  • Municipal Finance Authority - 1 Director and 1 Alternate (Chair Robert Hobson elected himself mentioning that Director Duane Ophus from West Kelowna wanted the appointment )
  • Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH) - 1 Director and 1 Alternate (Director Keith Fielding from Peachland and Director Gail Given from City of Kelowna is the alternate)

A recommended list of appointees will be brought forward on December 12th.

The Governance and Services Committee functions as a 'committee-of-the-whole' comprised of all Regional Board members.

In addition, the Regional Board will review the remaining committees and their structure in the New Year at which time further appointments will be confirmed. These committees include:

Human Resources Committee;
Regional Sustainability Steering Committee;
Negotiating Committee;
Watercraft Committee;
Airport Advisory Committee;
Highway 97 Steering Committee;
Okanagan-Similkameen Airshed Coalition;
Okanagan Marine Advisory Council;
Dog Advisory Committee;
Weed Control Committee;
Westside Wastewater Treatment Service
Stakeholder Select Committee;
Agricultural Advisory Commission;
Environmental Advisory Commission;
Central Okanagan West Electoral Area Advisory Planning Commission and
Central Okanagan East Electoral Area Advisory Planning Commission.

This is for your information.

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.pdf icon December 12, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

5. NEW BUSINESS

5.1 Regional Board Appointments (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)
The following appointments are required to be made at this time as many of the Boards and Committees begin their meetings in January.

Governance and Services Committee; Court of Revision, Economic Development Commission, Emergency Operations Control Group, Okanagan Basin Water board, Okanagan Film Commission, Okanagan Regional Library, Sterile Insect Release, Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH), Municipal Finance Authority, and Southern Interior Beetle Action
Coalition (SIBAC).

A list of appointments was circulated.

#282/11BAKER/GRAY
THAT the Regional Board approve the following appointments:

CARRIED

The question was raised what the process will be for reviewing the remaining committees and commissions. The Chair noted this will be discussed at strategic priority session in January.

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.pdf icon November 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5. Delegations

5.1 Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH) - Myrna Kalmakoff, Community Coordinator re: Review of the Child Friendly Transportation Toolkit

Myrna Kalmakoff addressed the Committee on the Child Friendly Transportation Toolkit noting the Toolkit was released in May 2011. CATCH is requesting that staff review the Toolkit as part of the update of the Regional Growth Strategy as well as requesting member municipal staff review the Toolkit.

#GS96/11 SHEPHERD/FIELDING
THAT the presentation by the Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH) Myrna Kalmakoff, Community Coordinator regarding review of the Child Friendly Transportation Toolkit be received;

AND FURTHER THAT staff be directed to review the Toolkit as part of the development of the Regional Growth Strategy update and report back to the Board.

CARRIED

#GS97/11 SHEPHERD/FIELDING
THAT staff forward the CATCH Toolkit to member municipalities for their consideration.

CARRIED

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.pdf icon November 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon This was a Director item so nothing is mentioned in the Agenda about CATCH or the Fundraiser for the homeless

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.pdf icon November 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

9. COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

9.1 Rise and Report - Governance & Services Committee meeting of November 10, 2011

d) Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH) - Myrna Kalmakoff, Community Coordinator re: Review of the Child Friendly Transportation Toolkit

SHEPHERD/RULE
THAT the presentation by the Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH) regarding review of the Child Friendly Transportation Toolkit be received;

AND FURTHER THAT staff be directed to review the Toolkit as part of the development of the Regional Growth Strategy update.

CARRIED

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First Central Okanagan Living Wage Calculated

The Central Okanagan has joined the ranks of several other BC communities with the releasing of its first Living Wage calculation.

“A Living Wage is basically what a family of four requires to meet its basic needs to improve its quality of life and escape extreme poverty,” says the Social Development Coordinator for the Regional District of Central Okanagan. Christene Walsh adds, “The calculations are prepared using public data and a consistent methodology and includes ‘basic family expenses’ such as food, rent, transportation, child care and education. It also takes into consideration government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies. The Living Wage figure doesn’t include other real life expenses such as home ownership, repaying debts, entertainment (cable, television, Internet), cigarette smoking etc.”

“In the Central Okanagan,” she says, “the Living Wage is calculated for a two parent family with two children aged four and seven. Each parent would need to earn $16.98 an hour to pay for necessities and support the healthy development of their children. It also allows them to participate in the social life of their community while allowing some funds to upgrade their training, skills and education.”

The Central Okanagan rate compares with a Living Wage of $17.27 per hour for the same family in Kamloops, $18.03 in Victoria and $18.81 in Vancouver.*

Walsh says over the last few months, many community groups and individuals have been asking her about a Living Wage figure for the Central Okanagan in order to draw attention to what it takes to lift a child out of poverty. “That’s why we decided to approach a University of Victoria professor to determine a Central Okanagan figure that’s consistent and comparable to the figures in other BC centres.”

She adds, “Now that we have a Living Wage figure for the Central Okanagan, we anticipate we’ll update it each year in the hopes of raising awareness of just what it takes to meet the bare bones needs of families across our community. We hope that employers might consider this and perhaps other supplementary things they could do outside of actual wages to support the quality of life of their workers and their families.”

Central Okanagan Economic Development Director Robert Fine says, “Many Central Okanagan employers are creatively embracing this kind of investment in their workers which pays dividends by reducing turnover and training costs and building employee loyalty, dedication and improved customer service. Some provide additional assistance with transit and parking, fitness and health passes and other benefits like health and medical coverage, flexible work schedules and tele-commuting.”

Walsh says, “BC has the highest child poverty rate in the country. We see the Living Wage figure for the Central Okanagan as a starting point and a tool that can be used to better understand the basic needs of families while building awareness for ways that enable more of them to participate and share in the quality of life that’s available here.”

* Communities Living Wage Rates

Vancouver - $18.81

Victoria - $18.03

Esquimalt - $17.31

Kamloops - $17.27

Regional District of Central Okanagan - $16.98

New Westminster - $16.74

Abbotsford - $16.42

Williams Lake - $15.77

Cranbrook - $14.16

Links: .pdf icon Detailed Central Okanagan Living Wage Table / Living Wage for Families website / .pdf icon Living Wage for Families 'Some Truths about the Living Wage'

Source:  RDCO's Whats New (July 19, 2011)

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Up close view of plight of the homeless
Kelowna Capital News - Okanagan Similkameen - By Alistair Waters - July 07, 2011

A leading U.S. activist for the homeless is coming to Kelowna to get a firsthand view of the problem here.

Mark Horvath, who operates the web sites invisiblepeople.tv and wearevisible.com, will include Kelowna on the B.C. portion of a cross-Canada tour he is making to show the face of homelessness in this country.

Horvath, an American who was formerly homeless and then turned to social media to give people many consider to be invisible a face, is embarking on the Canadian summer tour in partnership with the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the Community Action Committee.

Between now and September he will travel across the country with video camera, computers and smartphones with one goal in mind—to share the stories and experiences of the people he meets on the streets of Canadian cities with others on the Internet.

As he travels, he will use Twitter to broadcast what he is doing, and post videos and blog entries.

His regular Twitter feed, @(take this part out)invisiblepeople, is well-known in the social media world and he was named by the Huffington Post as one of 11 Twitter activists to follow in the U.S.

“Our goal is to expose Canadians to the unnatural disaster of homelessness in our communities through personal stories of those experiencing it,” said Tim Richeter, president of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, the group that arranged the tour.

“I believe when Canadians are introduced to their homeless neighbours through Mark’s lens, they will be compelled to act.”

Horvath, an internationally recognized activist and ambassador for millions who live in shelters, on the street, in motels, tents and under bridges across the U.S., left Victoria yesterday en route to Vancouver. He is scheduled to be in Kelowna on July 12.

When Horvath is here, regional social development co-ordinator Christine Walsh and a case work manager from the Gospel Mission will act as his “tour guides” and will take him to a number of areas around the city where the homeless live, including proper houses and camps.

The Gospel Mission case worker will deliver lunches to some of the people on the day Horvath is in town.

Included in his Canadian tour will be stops in Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Fort McMurray Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sault St. Marie, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Frederricton, Halifax and St. John’s.

Organizers hope the tour and awareness it brings will galvanize Canadians to take action on the issue of homelessness.

Horvath’s Canadian journey can be followed on his Twitter account @(take this part out)hardlynormal.

awaters "at" kelownacapnews.com

http://wearevisible.com/

http://careyfuller.com/

http://hardlynormal.com/

http://invisiblepeople.tv/

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.pdf icon June 27, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

12. OTHER BUSINESS

12.1 Director Items

g) Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH)

SHEPHERD/HODGE
THAT CATCH be requested to present their toolkit at a future Governance and Services Committee meeting.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 27, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (208 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 27, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Air Quality and CATCH - .wma (1.15 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 27, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about CATCH - .wma (264 KB)

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.pdf icon May 12, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5.3 Christene Walsh, RDCO Social Development Coordinator, re: Update on Homelessness Strategy

Christene Walsh provided an update on the region's homelessness partnering strategy including the community consultation results and moving forward, next steps.

'Hub' organizations are within the City of Kelowna, but the service is region-wide.

Key themes and trends were reviewed.
- Seeing younger (12-13 year olds) and older (60's) becoming homeless. It is not atypical to see individuals who have never been homeless, now homeless or close to it.
- Changes in the economy, reduction in donations have occurred.
- Access to transportation and a safe place to live are key themes. Working with groups to 'get people safe'.
- Service Canada grant document (only Kelowna and Kamloops submitted) has been submitted. The application is in Ottawa and staff are waiting to hear if grant funding will be approved.

HODGE/BAKER
THAT the update on the region's Homelessness Strategy be received.

CARRIED

------------------------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio May 12, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting .mp3 (381 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 12, 2011 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about the Homeless Strategy - .wma (13.5 MB)

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Volunteers get 'Inn from the Cold'
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 61381 - Apr 13, 2011

Many people call 'Inn from the Cold' home during the grey winter months in the Okanagan.

It is the only Kelowna homeless shelter that accepts couples, guests with animals, shopping carts, and those with barriers to accessing other shelters.

But.....there’s more to a home than just a bed, food and a shower. Peggy Salaberry, has been volunteering since the shelter's start in 1999, and it's passionate people like Peggy, who will give a hug when it’s needed, that makes the Inn a home and creates a positive impact on people's lives.

“We believe our guests are people first. It could be someone’s child, brother, father, mother or friend walking through our door when the shelter opens in the evening,” says Tara Tschritter, Volunteer and Shelter Coordinator. “ We don’t judge and we treat each other with mutual respect.”

For more information contact Tara at 250.448.6403 or info "at" innfromthecoldkelowna.org

Inn from the cold

Photo: Contributed

Inside Inn from the Cold

Volunteer Week--April 10th - 16th--is a great time to check out the volunteer opportunities in the Central Okanagan. Create your own volunteer profile to receive emails about volunteering that match your areas of interest.

For more information, contact the Community Information & Volunteer Centre at (250) 763-8008 or visit www.kcr.ca. Look ahead to the Volunteer Fair coming this fall.

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Latimer: Mental health issues stem from children living in poverty
Kelowna Capital News - By Paul Latimer - December 09, 2010

It’s official—B.C. has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada for the seventh year in a row.

Not exactly the advertising we want for our beautiful province, but there it is. According to the 2010 Child Poverty Report Card, there were 121,000 kids (or one in seven children) living in poverty in our province as of 2008.

The report card uses the most recent data available from Statistics Canada and although this still ranked B.C. worst in the country, the numbers are actually down from previous years.

Although some are quick to celebrate the decline, many experts warn the numbers will likely be worse in the next couple of years due to the economic slowdown, which hit toward the end of 2008.

Obviously, persistent poverty is not good for individuals or our society. Children who grow up in poverty encounter more hurdles in life and have fewer opportunities for education and development. Statistically, poor children will have more illness, shorter life spans, more health care costs, less productivity, more social problems and a greater need for social assistance than those who do not grow up in poverty.

All of these contribute to a higher likelihood of mental health problems.

Not only can poverty increase the likelihood of mental health issues for children, but mental illness is also a common feature among parents raising families in poverty.

A recent study of 14,000 children in the U.S. found that more than half of the babies in poverty are being raised by mothers showing symptoms of depression. In this study, one in nine had a mother with severe depression.

Unfortunately, even severe depression often goes largely untreated among low-income mothers of infants—only 30 per cent reported speaking to a professional about mental health issues.

Children of depressed parents are at three times increased risk of developing anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse disorders compared with children of non-depressed parents. They are considered a high risk group for psychiatric and medical problems beginning early and continuing through adulthood.

Some of this is likely due to genetic factors, but it is believed there is an environmental component as well.

Education about mental health and the elimination of stigma will go a long way toward helping families deal with mental illness and feel comfortable seeking help when it is needed. It is also very important to deal with the societal issues leading to poverty and despair.

In B.C., we still have the lowest minimum wage in the country at just $8 per hour.

It would be pretty difficult for a single parent earning minimum wage to find a decent place to live and support their child.

Advocates are calling on government to increase the minimum wage to least $11. Other steps that could be taken include increasing welfare payments and providing more funds for social housing.

Whatever else they may have accomplished during their extended period in power, Gordon Campbell and the Liberals should not be proud of this legacy.

Paul Latimer is a psychiatrist and president of Okanagan Clinical Trials.

250-862-8141

dr "at" okanaganclinicaltrials.com

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Speak up about housing needs
by Castanet Staff - Story: 61325 - Apr 10, 2011

Kelowna residents are urged to get ready to have their say on housing in Kelowna through a short survey aimed at understanding the current and future housing needs of the city.

The online survey can be found at kelowna.ca/cityprojects, now through April 22.

“We are looking at different ways to improve the housing situation in Kelowna, but we need to ensure any initiative the City undertakes matches the needs of residents,” says Theresa Eichler, Community Planning Manager.

Currently, the City allocates $320,000 of its tax revenues to affordable housing initiatives such as proving grants for affordable rental housing and establishing partnerships with different levels of government.

The City traditionally influences housing supply through land use management, such as zoning, policy and design regulation.

This survey is part of the consultation process for the City’s Housing Strategy that began in 2010.

The City is now looking to determine whether the public would support new measures, including the use of municipal tax revenue, to improve the housing supply.

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.pdf icon April 7, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Service Committee Meeting Minutes

5.3 Myrna Kalmakoff, Community Coordinator, CATCH re: Child Friendly Transportation Project

Myrna Kalmakoff provided an overview of the Child Friendly Transportation Project noting:
• Based on direction by the community CATCH has chosen to begin an education and awareness effort in the area of Child Friendly Transportation for Young Children and Families.
• Compiling a Toolkit designed to inspire all sectors that influence transportation to keep the needs of our young children (ages 0-6 years) in the forefront.
• Two ads will be placed on community buses this year.
• As part of the Regional Growth Strategy update staff will be meeting with CATCH to review children friendly initiatives.

BAKER/FIELDING
THAT CATCH's Child Friendly Transportation Project update be received and referred to staff for review through the Regional Growth Strategy.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 7, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (447 MB)

Windows Media File Icon April 7, 2011 audio of Governance and Services Committee meeting only about CATCH - .wma (1.91 MB)

Windows Media File Icon April 7, 2011 audio of Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 5.2 Success By 6 Program - .wma (60.9 KB)

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.pdf icon March 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Agenda

.pdf icon Item 3.1 New Official Community Plans Update.pdf

.pdf icon Item 4.1 Woodhaven Regional Park UBCO Eco Art Project Update.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.2 Budget Introduction.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.1 b-i NewStaffing-Admin.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.1bii New Staffing -RegParks.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.1c Engineering FTE Increase.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.3 Regional Grant-in-Aid Allocation.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 a - Budget Summary.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 b - Tax Requisitions and Rates.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 ciii-ProgramBudget-Planning.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 cii-ProgramBudget-SWM.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 ci-ProgramBudget - Engineering.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-iv-ProgramBudget-Fire Protection.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-ix-ProgramBudget-EDC.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-viii-ProgramBudget-PolicingServices.pdf

5.3 Delegations

a) RCMP Supt. McKinnon and Cary Berger - re: Domestic Violence Support Worker Position

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 10, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting .mp3 (537 MB or over 3 hours 55 mins)

Windows Media File Icon March 10, 2011 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Superintendant Bill McKinnon speaking about the budget - .wma (11.4 MB)

About domestic violence, Crime Stoppers, victim services.  The police cannot find out if a home is a legitimate grow op until they get there.  More officers are needed.  Superintendant Bill McKinnon supports sobering centers, but where does the money come from.  No funding from the Province for Domestic Violence and have been denied twice by the Ministry.  So many other things come first before Domestic Violence.  Need more drug members. Director Edgson said domestic violence is tied to the economy and grow ops.  City of Kelowna survey said #1 concern residents have is domestic violence.  120 domestic violence cases a month.

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-vii-ProgramBudget-Administration.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-vi-ProgramBudget-Finance.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-v-ProgramBudget-Inspection.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-v-ProgramBudget-Parks.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-x-ProgramBudget-RegionalBoard.pdf

.pdf icon March 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5.3 Delegations

a) RCMP Supt. McKinnon and Cary Berger - re: Domestic Violence Support Worker Position Cary Berger, RDCO Manager of Police Services, provided the committee with an update on funding for the Domestic Violence Support Worker position. She stated a funding application had been submitted to the Ministry of Public Safety and the Standing Finance Committee to review, it was denied. Staff had a conference call with the Ministry and the Province noted that they have no funding for this position;
they support a community based victim service program and they are not interested in a third model at this time.
RCMP Superintendent McKinnon addressed the Board regarding the Domestic Violence Support Worker Position. He stated that they have re-organized and going forward, support will be provided by the plain clothes section and will be acted upon immediately, as a high priority. He noted that there are many positions that are needed within the RCMP and that in the scope of positions needed, this position is not determined as a high priority.

The City of Kelowna noted that domestic violence was identified as the number one priority for the City. It was asked of staff if the community based funding model be explored, instead of the police model? Staff noted that there is great value in having an in-house model as it falls under Federal jurisdiction with full disclosure.

Community based support works would be under non-disclosure.
The committee noted that it supported Superintendent McKinnon and the reorganization for support of the Domestic Violence Support Worker position. It was noted that they would like to continue to lobby for funding for the model in their community. If funding is not forthcoming then perhaps re-think and advocate for money to come from the community based program the Province is in support of.

SHEPHERD/HODGSON
THAT the Governance and Services Committee continue to support the pursuit of a Domestic Violence Support Worker position, however if funding is not forthcoming that staff start to pursue other funding options to provide a police- based position to support domestic violence in the community.

CARRIED

-----------------------------------------------

5.3 Delegations

a) RCMP Supt. McKinnon and Cary Berger - re: Domestic Violence Support Worker Position

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 10, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting .mp3 (537 MB or over 3 hours 55 mins)

Windows Media File Icon March 10, 2011 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Superintendant Bill McKinnon speaking about the budget - .wma (11.4 MB)

About domestic violence, Crime Stoppers, victim services.  The police cannot find out if a home is a legitimate grow op until they get there.  More officers are needed.  Superintendant Bill McKinnon supports sobering centers, but where does the money come from.  No funding from the Province for Domestic Violence and have been denied twice by the Ministry.  So many other things come first before Domestic Violence.  Need more drug members. Director Edgson said domestic violence is tied to the economy and grow ops.  City of Kelowna survey said #1 concern residents have is domestic violence.  120 domestic violence cases a month.

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UBCO students going homeless
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 60743 - Mar 12, 2011
 

What does it feel like to be homeless?

Seven students at UBC Okanagan, five managment and two social worker students will find out first hand as they participate in 'Five Days For The Homeless,' a national campaign to raise awareness and money for local charities that help people at risk.

The students will spend days outdoors while raising money for the NOW Canada sponsored Tutt Street Place Apartment for Women and Children.

Their ordeal begins Sunday at 5 p.m. and wraps up at 5 p.m. next Friday.

Third year management student Kendra Hapke is one of those taking part.

She says they are trying to replicate the homeless experience as best they can.

"We basically go with the clothes on our back, a sleeping bag and a pillow and we will be sleeping outside," says Hapke.

"Any money that is given to us goes directly towards the cause. We can only live off food and other items that are given and donated to us."

Hapke says they have to give up everything including their possessions, income and even showers.

However, they still have to attend classes.

"We may be moving towards the back of the class as a request from our fellow classmates."

Hapke says they will also be attending a gala event scheduled for Thursday night.

It was suggested they suspend the fundraising event to attend the gala, but Hapke says they decided to attend as is.

"We thought it was important to commit to the five days. We're still going to attend the gala event, do some networking while not showering and wearing the same clothes."

Hapke says they have scoped out a place to sleep in front of the Science Building because it has an overhang which could help if it rains or snows.

Anyone wishing to donate to the cause can do so through the campaign website, www.5days.ca or make a donation directly to the students.

"I think it's important to raise awareness for the homeless and to try and do anything we can to help and this year it's going to a really great cause."

Hapke says their goal is to raise $7,000.

Last year, students raised $4,600 which went towards bedding at the Willowbridge Supportive Housing Program.

Link to 5 DAYS FOR THE HOMELESS

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EDITORIAL: Review the minimum wage
Vernon Morning Star - February 27, 2011

Try living on the minimum wage of $8/hour in British Columbia and see how far it gets you. Worse, try living on the ‘training wage’ of $6/hour.

It’s a no-brainer that anyone on minimum wage can’t afford to put a roof over their head and food on the table. And that’s not factoring in hydro, telephone, transportation, medical, clothing — or kids.

In a recent report entitled Myths and Facts about the Minimum Wage in B.C., Iglika Ivanova of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives recommends that the provincial government immediately increase the minimum wage to $10/hour, and eliminate the $6 training wage. When the $8 minimum wage was introduced in 2001 it was the highest in Canada. But since then other provinces have increased their minimum wage levels to adjust for inflation, leaving this province now at the bottom of the rankings.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business maintains small businesses can be adversely affected by an increase in the minimum wage. But Ivanova argues: “Employment levels in any economy, including B.C.’s, are determined by a number of factors and minimum wages are a very small player overall.”

Another myth Ivanova diffused is that few people actually earn minimum wage. While only 2.3 per cent of B.C.’s workers actually earn $8, over 13 per cent of all employees in the province earn under $10/hour. That’s over 250,000 people.

Both George Abbott and Mike de Jong, candidates in the Liberal Party leadership race, have endorsed policies to review the minimum wage with public consultation. It’s long overdue.

––– Black Press

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Affordable housing shortfall claim challenged
Kelowna Capital News - By Kathy Michaels - February 25, 2011

Housing is affordable—it’s just “not sexy” to say so, a member of a research organization told a crowd of Kelowna developers Wednesday afternoon.

Ryan Berlin, with the Urban Futures Institute, presented Urban Development Initiative members with evidence aimed at weakening B.C.’s public image as the most unaffordable market in Canada.

Amid the data offered up was that 37 per cent of renter households in the Lower Mainland make $50,000, and the bottom of the barrel purchasing options for 2010 were in the area of $213,000.

Should renters want to become owners, he explained, they could do so even if they may have to drive vast distances to their jobs.

“The vast majority of homeowners in Canada can afford to live in their homes and there’s no indication of a housing bubble,” he said, pointing out the common ratio of housing costs to wages is also a skewed measure.

Berlin said the bulk of Canadians are spending less than 30 per cent of their earnings—it’s closer to 16 per cent—on housing, and that’s well within the expectation of affordable.

While one audience member pointed out that statistics are rarely rolled together in Berlin’s fashion, he said the goal wasn’t to debase other research but rather look at different ways of dealing with inequities.

“We try to define affordability too simply,” he said.

“We need to think about measures in different ways.

“We shouldn’t be saying, can tenants afford the best. We should be saying can they afford something achievable?”

Once that’s squared away, then the real issues with affordability can be addressed, he argued.

“I think if we want more affordable housing we need to come up with a way to get people in good jobs so they can afford higher rents or to buy,” he said.

“It’s not about subsidizing units, it’s easier to build housing units… we need to look at diversifying and building the economy over the next 20 years.”

That argument, he said, may be especially pertinent in Kelowna, which has repeatedly earned the dubious distinction of being one of the most unaffordable housing markets in Canada.

“Nobody is saying Kelowna is the powerhouse of the B.C. economy,” he said.

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Feds need to step up with plan to end homelessness
Kelowna Capital News - By Kathy Michaels - February 18, 2011

Kelowna, like other cities across Canada, has what it takes to end homelessness, but the federal government needs to step up to make it happen, says one of the leading authorities on the problem.

“Without a national housing plan, you in Kelowna can’t do what you need to end homelessness,” said Michael Shapcott, affordable housing and social innovation director at the Toronto-based Wellesley Institute, a non-profit research organization.

Shapcott was the keynote speaker at the UBC Okanagan leg of the B.C. Affordable Housing Research and Action roundtable.

“There needs to be capital funding for the brick and mortar. (A national housing plan) would be a reference guide organizations pull off the shelf,” Shapcott said.

He compared the Gross Domestic Product to the population, highlighting that doing so ranks this nation the seventh most wealthy on the global stage.

Conversely, it’s the only country in the OECD (Organizaton for Economic Co-operation and Development) that’s failed to come up with a national housing plan.

“We have a patchwork system that’s not meeting the needs of Canadians,” he said.

Shapcott pointed out that even the U..S has a plan to stop homelessness in the next decade, and their problem is, proportionately, more daunting.

As is, estimates show that anywhere from 150,000 to 300,000 Canadians are homeless, but the more telling figure, says Shapcott, is that 3.1 million Canadians live in unaffordable housing.

It’s a national weakness that’s ultimately costing taxpayers a lot of money, he said, pointing to the fact that even the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has lamented the price to business.

Access to affordable housing shapes the social, economic and political life of a society and when its lacking, it impacts the health of a nation.

By his estimates, Canada could save billions in health care dollars if investments were made in addressing affordable housing.

While it may seem like an overly daunting task to get the federal government to pour money into programs they’ve been cutting since the 1990s, Shapcott said support for private members bill C-304, which calls for a national housing strategy, could be the impetus needed to get the government going.

“They say it’s not a national issue, it’s a local issue,” he said.

“But in fact this is a problem for the federal government. (Getting adequate housing for Canadians) is not just a problem, it’s their legal responsibility.”

kmichaels "at" kelownacapnews.com

---------------------------------

By Cyberlots

I find it ironic how Mayor Sharon Shepherd is so against homelessness, but yet she would vote for me to pay $145 per month for 30 years for a water system and turn down a subdivision application that would help share in the cost of the water system. We have to look in our own backyard just as much if not more. Local government is just as reckless as any other level of government.

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.pdf icon February 10, 2011 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting

There was nothing mentioned in the Highlights about the Governance and Services Committee Meeting

7. COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

7.1 Rise and Report - Governance & Services Committee meeting of February 10, 2011

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio February 10, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (15 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files February 10, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the budget - .wma (3.04 MB)

.pdf icon February 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting Agenda

7. COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

7.1 Rise and Report - Governance & Services Committee meeting of February 10, 2011

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio February 10, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (15 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files February 10, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the budget - .wma (3.04 MB)

.pdf icon February 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Special Board Meeting Minutes

Board Minutes

c) The Board rose and reported further on the following resolutions from the February 10, 2011 Governance and Services Committee. By consensus it was agreed to adopt one resolution.
SHEPHERD/HODGE

Domestic Violence Staffing
THAT the Regional District continue to advocate for funding for a police-based domestic violence position for the Central Okanagan.

AND FURTHER THAT staff be directed to request a delegation from the RCMP for the March 10th Governance and Services Committee meeting to present their position on the need for a police-based domestic violence staff position.

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.pdf icon January 13, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 3.2 Social Development Program Presentation.pdf

Click link above for RDCO's Social Development Coordinator Christene Walsh, MSW presentation on homelessness, Kelowna B.C.'s Gospel Mission, various sobering centers in B.C., etc. and the Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee discussing shelters, methadone program, other social programs, not enough funding, etc.  This link gives you an overall picture of Social Development Christene Walsh, MSW role in the Okanagan and in her newly designed position.  Christene Walsh's former position was Drug Policy Coordinator in the Regional District of Central Okanagan, but her position was slightly modified to make her job much more enjoyable she says.

Then visit the bottom link in this table to hear Christene Walsh speak to the G & S Board about her presentation.

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Here is a small snippett found at the link above.

Social Development Coordinator (building on former Drug Policy Coordinator role):

The Social Development Coordinator [SDC] role, utilizing an urban health [community development] approach, acts as a
resource for not-for-profit and government organizations, the community at-large and the employer – Regional District of Central Okanagan. A specific focus is to assist organizations who provide harm reduction, prevention, treatment and enforcement services for persons in need. The target population may be chemically dependent, homeless [at risk], mentally and/or physically ill, criminal justice involved and/or compromised in other ways. The SDC promotes community health & wellness [safety] via assisting partnership building between existing services as well as to problem-solve, help strengthen programs as well as to encourage, facilitate and support the development of new initiatives geared to helping the target clientele and, our community at large.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 13, 2011 audio of entire Governance and Services Committee meeting .mp3 (185 MB)

Windows Media File Icon January 13, 2011 audio of Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Presentation by RDCO's Drug Policy Coordinator - .wma (19.7 MB)

January 13, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

3.2 Social Development Program Update - Christene Walsh, Social Development Coordinator Christene Walsh addressed the Board providing an update on the new role as Social Development Coordinator which one of the priority areas will be focusing on homelessness. The Four Pillars Coalition previously listed four main goals to target and these remain applicable:

• Greater Coordination and Cooperation
• Improved Public Health
• Enhanced Quality of Life, and
• Restored Public Order.

The goals/tasks for 2011/2012 were highlighted as well as a review of the Central Okanagan residential resources including: NOW Canada, Kelowna Gospel Mission, Richter Street Shelter, Inn From the Cold, Cardington Apartments, Willowbridge Transition Housing, White Buffalo Lodge, The Society of Hope, Tutt Street Place, New Gate Apartments, and Supportive Recovery Homes.

A review of the new additions to the service sector was also highlighted.

Christene explained the variance in her expansion as the drug policy coordinator to a social development role. One key change is focusing more on homelessness and not just on addiction. Change coincides with Service Canada for a homeless strategy meaning funding opportunities. Staff are working on a Homelessness Plan and how to utilize the dollars which come into the area. Sobering Centers are now being talked about in other communities and are being built in other areas (Fraser Valley have been given direction to make it happen, Yukon is building one, Kamloops is exploring the idea). There may be opportunities for the Central Okanagan in the future. The importance of not losing site of the Four Pillars goals was noted.

Discussion:
- Responsibility of mental health funding - BC Mental Health and Addiction Plan is full of prevention plans. We know we need to get to root causes but do not have the capacity of resources.
- Sobering Center - the issue will be ongoing funding not just the building of a Center. Support from the RCMP and groups within the Central Okanagan for a Center but funding is the overriding issues.
- Programs come and go - ie: Crystal Meth Task Force has folded, Foster Care program, Kids in Care program. Concern with program changes that the system is struggling. Programs need to be broadened - and not be so specific. Many programs are not lost but have been refocused with other resources.
- What is happening in the school district with various programs? Trying to get prevention programs back into the schools.
- New groups - how do you identify their clients and what is available in the region for services? One of the roles is to assist in coordinating groups and their resources.
- Concern was expressed that local government is now picking up 'the slack' from cutbacks at the senior government level which should fall within IHA's mandate.

Are other health authorities dealing with these issues? How far do you have to go dealing with social issues-individuals also have to become responsible?

Vancouver Island Health Authority seems to be doing well - very progressive in their programs and plans.

- It is believed there are over 400 individuals on income assistance that have no specific address. The number of homeless is probably in the area of 1,000. It is difficult to nail down numbers as some individuals do not believe they are homeless. The Central Okanagan has enough shelter beds for males but struggles with female beds. Core homeless are our citizens - from this area.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 13, 2011 audio of entire Governance and Services Committee meeting .mp3 (185 MB)

Windows Media File Icon January 13, 2011 audio of Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Presentation by RDCO's Drug Policy Coordinator - .wma (19.7 MB)

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January 13, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Director Items - Mayor Sharon Shepherd

11. OTHER BUSINESS

11.1 Director Items

a) International Children's Games
It was noted that the International Children's Games Kelowna 2011 begin this weekend and that Central Okanagan children will be well represented. This is a great economic boost to the region.

b) Community Action Toward Children's Health (CATCH)
Director Shepherd, as the Regional District's CATCH appointment, noted that CATCH is updating their strategic planning process including: strengthening parent resources, State of the Child report, aboriginal community gathering,
working on a child friendly community, developing their website and looking at the use of social media. It was noted that CATCH has lost the majority of their funding last year and that all services are now done by contract.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 13, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (33.9 MB)

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Realtor launches successful holiday free rent initiative
Vernon Morning Star - December 28, 2010

During the 2010 Realtor Food Drive, a thought occurred to Vernon realtor Darcy Griffiths.

With 19 tons of food collected from generous North Okanagan residents, Griffiths wondered how many people use the food bank so they have enough money for rent.

With that, Griffiths, of Re/Max, started a new iniative called I’ll Be Home For Christmas.

Through the program, one lucky resident is given the gift of free rent (maximum $750) for the holiday season.

“Putting food on the table versus paying the rent, that would be a difficult choice to have to make,” said Griffiths.

“Especially during the holiday season as costs for most households increases.”

Griffiths started making phone calls and, within a week, she had 10 locally owned businesses say they wanted to be involved in the initiative.

How it works is that each year in time for Christmas, the group of businesses will look for referrals of deserving individuals or families to be awarded the gift of free rent. It will be a surprise gift. The family or person will not apply.

This year’s winner came from the following recommendation:

“The candidate I am suggesting is a single working mom who holds down two part-time jobs. The family has no government or ministry income other than the child tax credit and HST rebates. She is trying to make it on her own.”

When informed that she was the recipient of the first I’ll Be Home For Christmas gift of free rent, the woman stated, “It was the best gift I could ever have received, and it came at no better of a time.”

The selection process for the 2011 event will be held in November.

Recipients will be selected on a referral basis.

The winner will be given their gift of free rent Dec. 1.

Any businesses that would like to be involved as a sponsor are asked to call Griffiths at 250-549-4161.

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How can government be so cruel?
There is no place to rent for $375 per month.  Please Premier Gordon Campbell, please read the classifieds in the Okanagan to see if you can find a place to rent for $375 per month.

DISTURBING FACT ABOUT SOCIAL ASSISTANCE

MAXIMUM ASSISTANCE FOR RENT = $375

For employable singles, the maximum assistance you would be eligible to receive for one month no matter what your rental payments really are.

$375 Shelter
$235 Support
                    = $610 per month max. assistance?

But in many cases rent alone costs more than $375! Check out the classifieds and see for yourself.

If you are a person with disabilities or a senior:

$375 Shelter
$531 Support
                     = $906 per month max. assistance

Seniors get $296 more per month than someone younger.  Why?

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Why End Poverty?
ELP believes unemployment and poverty are not the fault of individual poor people. They are caused by government policies and legislation. For example, low minimum wages and welfare rates keep people living far below the lines of poverty.

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B.C. begins review on minimum wage
By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News - November 26, 2010

VICTORIA – As B.C. Liberal leadership candidates join the chorus calling for an increase in Canada's lowest minimum wage, the government has begun laying the groundwork for the first increase in nine years.

Labour Minister Iain Black said Thursday he has asked staff to consult with business and labour representatives over the next three months. Black's announcement came hours after Shuswap MLA George Abbott resigned as education minister and announced his leadership bid, featuring a promise to review the minimum wage.

Vancouver-Langara MLA Moira Stilwell, the first leadership candidate to declare, has called for it to be increased immediately from the current $8 an hour to $8.50, with 50-cent increases every six months until it reaches $10.

Stilwell advocated the same schedule of increases for the $6-an-hour "training wage" that applies to new workers in their first 500 hours of employment. Both rates were set by the B.C. Liberal government in 2001, and calls for an increase have become an annual Labour Day campaign by the B.C. Federation of Labour and the NDP opposition.

Both groups have advocated an immediate increase to $10 an hour. Black cautioned that a sudden increase could be "dangerous" for small businesses struggling to recover from a deep recession.

Finance Minister Colin Hansen said this week that only 2.3 per cent of B.C. workers are paid minimum wage, and the majority of those are young people who live with their parents.

New Brunswick is the latest province to raise its minimum wage, going from $8.50 to $9 an hour on Sept. 1 with further increases to take it to $10 an hour by next summer.

In March, Ontario raised its minimum wage by 75 cents to $10.25, the highest in Canada.

It's $8.70 in Prince Edward Island, $8.93 in Yukon, $8.80 in Alberta, $9.25 in Saskatchewan, $9 in Manitoba and Northwest Territories, $9.20 in Nova Scotia, $9.50 in Quebec and $10 in Nunavut and Newfoundland.

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Extreme weather shelters for homeless
Castanet.net - by Castanet Staff - Story: 58377 - Nov 19, 2010

Up to 67 additional shelter spaces will be available in Kelowna when  extreme weather alerts are activated this winter, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Minister Responsible for Housing Rich Coleman announced Friday.

"These extra spaces are available primarily through the efforts of community groups and dedicated people who care deeply about their communities," says Coleman.

"The province provides the funding to have these spaces available when our weather is at its worst. Community volunteers ensure homeless people have a
warm, safe place to stay."

Across the province, more than 1,400 spaces have been identified in 34 communities under the Extreme Weather Response Program, with the ability to reach homeless people in 53 communities.

When an alert is issued for Kelowna, space can be made available at the
following locations:

•NOW Canada: 2609 Richter St., 10 spaces

•Kelowna Gospel Mission: 251 Leon Ave., 30 spaces

•Boys and Girls Club (if others at capacity): 7 spaces

•Salvation Army (if others at capacity): 1480 Sutherland Ave., 20 spaces
Communities decide what conditions warrant an Extreme Weather Alert, when to activate a location and how many spaces to make available on a given night, depending on the capacity of existing shelters and the estimated need.

The province will provide community-based services with approximately $800,000 this year to fund the extreme weather spaces.

The extreme weather spaces supplement more than 1,570 permanent, year-round  beds in the province funded through the Emergency Shelter Program (ESP).

Kelowna has 80 year-round shelter beds. The ESP has undergone a major expansion since 2001, nearly doubling the number of year-round beds and increasing annual funding to nearly $60 million - almost six times as much as in 2001.

Most permanent shelters are now open 24/7 and provide three meals a day.
Outreach services connect homeless people with more permanent housing, income supports, and assistance with a range of health issues.

Since April, more than 2,660 people in the province have been helped to move off the streets and into permanent housing as a result of the Homeless Outreach Program and Emergency Shelter Program.

In 2010-11, the Province will invest over $562 million to provide affordable housing and fight homelessness - more than four times as much as in 2001.

A complete list of provincially funded, permanent, year-round emergency
shelters, and spaces available under the Extreme Weather Response Program is at: www.bchousing.org/programs/ESP/shelter_list.

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B.C. hospitals using beds for homeless
CBC.ca - The Canadian Press - Sunday, November 14, 2010

Provincial hospitals have been increasingly converting beds into a form of social housing over the past decade, data from B.C.'s Ministry of Health shows.

The data, obtained by the Opposition New Democrats, reveals a rising trend where patients who no longer require acute care remain in those beds.

Homelessness, inadequate housing and other problems related to housing and economic circumstances are given as reasons for keeping patients at the hospital.

Comparing the number of patients staying in such beds in 2001-02 with 2008-09 reveals an increase of 192 per cent.

The data reflects how homelessness, insufficient housing and income disparity are contributing to rising hospitalization rates and health-care costs, NDP health critic Adrian Dix says.

He argues the B.C. government's failure to implement a coherent housing strategy and larger poverty reduction plan is to blame.

"These figures show how increasing income disparity, homelessness and substandard housing have added more pressure on acute-care hospitals," Dix said in a written release.

"They also lend more proof that a real concerted approach to reducing poverty and poor housing will be required to bend the cost curve on health-care costs while improving the health of the overall population."

The B.C. Liberals have not been reached for comment.

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Help the homeless by dining out
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 58207 - Nov 13, 2010

Kelowna residents who want to help the homeless now have another way to give back: eat at a local restaurant once a month.

Inn from the Cold Kelowna has partnered with several local restaurants to put on a series of monthly dinners to benefit the homeless.

The proceeds from each night out will help Inn from the Cold continue to provide a safe, comfortable night’s sleep for our city’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Our ‘Dining Out to Help Homelessness’ campaign is about social consumerism – supporting businesses that match your values,” says Patrick Spinks, Director of Fundraising for Inn from the Cold Kelowna.

“Many people eat in restaurants at least once per month and they also want to give back to the community. This series offers a fun opportunity for people to enjoy a great meal and make a real difference.”

The first dinner is hosted by Olympia Greek Taverna and features a three course meal for just $35.

The event, taking place on Monday, November 22 will also feature door prizes, a silent auction and raffles.

Further information and tickets can be obtained online.

Businesses or individuals who are interested in hosting a dinner, or donating prizes for silent auctions and raffles, are encouraged to call the shelter at (250) 448-6403, or email iftckelowna "at" gmail.com.

Link: Inn From The Cold website

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Kelowna Gospel Mission targets funds from Pepsi Refresh Project
Kelowna Capital News - By Kathy Michaels - November 01, 2010

Vote to help the Gospel Mission secure a $100,000 grant for dentistry.
Capital News file photo

When it comes to finding ways to improve community dental care, soft drink companies aren't generally heralded as the saviour.

But when Shirley Goebel heard about the Pepsi Refresh Project, she rallied the troops at Kelowna Gospel Mission's dental clinic to take a stab at earning a much needed $100,000 grant that could improve the smiles and health of countless locals.

"We need to expand our clinic because we are so overwhelmed with need," said Goebel, the Mission's director of dental services.

"We'd like to take our clinic from two (dental) chairs to four chairs so we can better serve our community."

Goebel, who has been with the clinic that addresses dental needs for low income Kelowna residents since it opened six years ago, was introduced to the Pepsi grant competition this summer and geared up to have an application hit the web this fall. Pepsi put the Gospel Mission online as a contestant today and from this point forward, it's up to voters to help increase the reach of the Mission's dental program by voting once a day, every day, until Dec. 31 when the winner will be unveiled.

There are countless reasons why the community should help the free clinic come out first in the intervening weeks.

"We encourage everyone to vote everyday so we can show the rest of Canada how we take care of our own in our community," she said, explaining the clinic, which is staffed with volunteers from UBC dental students out of Vancouver General Hospital and local dentists, is meeting an urgent and growing need.

"Right now we are booked several months out ... I am still calling referrals from last fall for our restorative clinic, where we provide basic dental care."

It's something that's key to overall health, but even the cosmetic aspect of dental care can act as a barrier to those who want to be in the workforce, but aren't there yet.

"They smile, and people say 'I don't want that in my business'," she said. "We really value, as a society, how people look. We have had many clients who we helped get their smiles and they get their self-esteem back and now they're employable and happy."

While the need to expand the clinic's reach is high, Goebel doesn't know if they'll be able to do it without the funds from the Pepsi grant competition.

"It's getting harder and harder to find grant dollars," she said. "We don't have any government sponsorship here so we went to Pepsi."

Pepsi is giving away millions each month to fund refreshing ideas that change the world. The ideas with the most votes will receive grants.

To vote go to http://www.refresheverything.ca/expandourfreedentalclinic

More information about the Pepsi Refresh Grant can be found at http://www.refresheverything.ca/how-it-works

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Pepsi, Gospel Mission clinic unlikely partners
Kelowna Capital News - By Kathy Michaels - November 02, 2010

When it comes to finding ways to improve community dental care, soft drink companies aren’t generally heralded as the saviour.

But when Shirley Goebel heard about the Pepsi Refresh Project, she rallied the troops at Kelowna Gospel Mission’s dental clinic to take a stab at earning a much-needed $100,000 grant that could improve the smiles and health of countless locals.

“We need to expand our clinic because we are so overwhelmed with need,” said Goebel, the Mission’s director of dental services.

“We’d like to take our clinic from two (dental) chairs to four chairs so we can better serve our community.”

Goebel, who has been with the clinic that addresses dental needs for low income Kelowna residents since it opened six years ago, was introduced to the Pepsi grant competition this summer and geared up to have an application hit the web this fall.

Pepsi put the Gospel Mission online as a contestant today and from this point forward, it’s up to voters to help increase the reach of the Mission’s dental program by voting once a day, every day, until Dec. 31 when the winner will be unveiled.

There are countless reasons why the community should help the free clinic come out first in the intervening weeks.

“We encourage everyone to vote everyday so we can show the rest of Canada how we take care of our own in our community,” she said, explaining the clinic, which is staffed with volunteers from UBC dental students out of Vancouver General Hospital and local dentists, is meeting an urgent and growing need.

“Right now we are booked several months out…I am still calling referrals from last fall for our restorative clinic, where we provide basic dental care.”

It’s something that’s key to overall health, but even the cosmetic aspect of dental care can act as a barrier to those who want to be in the workforce, but aren’t there yet.

“They smile, and people say ‘I don’t want that in my business,’” she said.

“We really value, as a society, how people look. We have had many clients who we helped get their smiles and they get their self-esteem back and now they’re employable and happy.”

While the need to expand the clinic’s reach is high, Goebel doesn’t know if they’ll be able to do it without the funds from the Pepsi grant competition.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find grant dollars,” she said.

“We don’t have any government sponsorship here so we went to Pepsi.”

Pepsi is giving away millions each month to fund refreshing ideas that change the world. The ideas with the most votes will receive grants.

To vote go to http://www.refresheverything.ca/expandourfreedentalclinic.

More information about the Pepsi Refresh Grant can be found at http://www.refresheverything.ca/how-it-works.

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Dental clinic eager to spread smiles
Vernon Morning Star - October 12, 2010

Amber Peters received urgently needed dentures from the Community Dental Access Centre emergency fund. Peters, who is with her children Kiera Sanesh, five, and Ryder Sanesh, one, is a volunteer for clinic fundraising activities. The low-cost dental clinic is scheduled to be open Vernon in the new year.
photo submitted

The Community Dental Access Centre volunteer committee has been working tirelessly for years to provide a dental clinic with services based on income. Now, with many of the goals and objectives met, there has been a space chosen for a clinic and renovations are underway with the clinic expected to open in the new year.

“This has been an evolving process and we have kept our goals and objectives in mind and met them,” said Lesly McMillan, clinic co-manager with Chris Turner.

The four-chair clinic will have professional dental care staff and a resident dentist starting next summer. Volunteers will assist with things like paperwork. The downtown clinic space is currently being renovated and assistance from a contractor and donations in kind of building supplies would be greatly appreciated.

Resident Jessie Crawford-Brown believes all donations help.

“I have decided that I will start saving at least $10 a month to build up a fund to give to the centre. And I will dump the change from my purse regularly and donate that. Even small amounts add up,” she said.

“There are a lot of seniors without dental care and other people of all ages from all walks of life who are eager for this clinic to open. I hate to think of children being in pain.”

Tanis Farina, settlement counsellor for Vernon and District Immigrant Services said she sees clients who have poor dental health and it prevents them from getting work and adjusting to their new life.

Preventative dental care for children and adults will be an important part of the Community Dental Access Centre. For more information, call McMillan at 250-546-8681 or Turner at 250-558-5877 or see www.communitydentalaccess.ca.

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Kelowna city council forgives Gospel Mission's $150,000 loan
Kelowna Capital News - By Kathy Michaels - September 14, 2010

Pipedreams of an upwardly mobile downtown Kelowna cost the city $150,000.

Five years ago, when city council was planning to have the Gospel Mission clear out of Leon Avenue to make way for high-end developments, it passed the organization funds to embark on a campaign that would help them in that aim.

It was intended to be a loan repaid when the shelter and soup kitchen was sold, but Monday it morphed into a gift.

As the city’s real estate and building services director Doug Gilchristexplained, the city changed its direction but the mission’s staff held up their end of the bargain. The best way to move forward was to write off the debt, he said especially considering that the money is nowhere to be seen now that the building isn’t going to be sold.

“A great deal of site analysis, financial modelling, facility modelling went into …potentially relocating the Gospel Mission,” said Gilchrist, adding consultants were hired and a capital campaign got underway.
“A great deal of money was spent at that time to try and determine what model might work, perhaps well beyond the $150,000 we are talking about here today.”

The decision to write off the loan was reached unanimously by council who, before making the decisioin, listened to the mission’s Randy Benson explain that the organization’s services continue to be in high demand.

Now that they’re not moving, and services continue to ramp up, making the building more esthetically pleasing seems to be the way forward.

It’s something council said it would have preferred to see the money dedicated to.

“It’s an expensive lesson we’ve learned,” said Coun. Graeme James.

“But the Gospel Mission has lived up to its end of the bargain.”

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.pdf icon September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting Agenda

Nothing was mentioned in the Highlights of the Meeting or the Board Agenda about Item 1.2 Domestic Violence Support Worker

.pdf icon September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting Minutes

1.2 Other

a) Domestic Violence Support Worker

It was noted that the funding proposal to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General regarding a domestic violence support worker pilot project submitted in May 2010 has been denied for two reasons: lack of funding and the Ministry does not want to introduce a third model but prefers the community based program. It was agreed that lobbying for funding for the
pilot project needs to continue.

SHEPHERD/HODGE
THAT the denial of the application for funding for a pilot police-based Domestic Violence Support Worker be shared with our MLAs;

AND THAT the Chair and Directors attempt to meet with Ministry officials at the upcoming UBCM Convention to lobby for support of the pilot project;

AND FURTHER THAT staff attend the public provincial budget meetings scheduled for September 21 and if possible present a case for funding of a police based domestic violence program.

CARRIED

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.pdf icon September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Agenda

.pdf icon Item 3.1 CATCH Briefing.pdf

Agenda No. 3.3
Mtg Date: Sept 9/10

Community Action Toward Children's Health
"working together for the healthy development of children in the early years"

1 September, 2009

Community Action Toward Children's Health is a capacity focused, community coalition, working to make the Central Okanagan the best place to raise children.

We have a ten year history of working together to raise awareness of Early Childhood Development (ECD) through our community development, research, evaluation, and advocacy for healthy social and environmental policy.

Our present goals and work plans take direction from the priorities defined in the ECD plan for the Central Okanagan, released in June of 2007. This plan was the result of three years of consultation with community partners, providers and parents. We are proud of our Aboriginal community engagement in the CATCH coalition where urban Aboriginal, Metis and Westbank First Nations ECD leaders are working together. They have developed their own priorities,resulting in an enriched and culturally sensitive collection of priorities for children from Peachland to Lake Country.

CATCH celebrates National Child Day on November 20th, which includes a State of the Child Report for the Central Okanagan.

We communicate with partners and the general public through our website, network newsletters, quarterly reports, Network Meetings, presentations to diverse groups, and opportunities for broader community involvement.

Aside from our community partners, CATCH's work is supported by a few dedicated contractors under the administration of the CATCH Manager and directed by the CATCH Integration Team, a sixteen member group of diverse community partners.

Shan Lavell, RN BSN MA, CCC
Coalition Manager

#212-1511 Sutherland Ave., Kelowna BC V1Y 5Y7
Phone: (250) 868-2413 Fax: (250) 868-2416 Email: info "at" catchcoalition.ca
www.catchcoalition.ca

.pdf icon September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

3. Delegation

3.1 Kent Stralbiski, Chair - Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH) re: Briefing on CATCH
Kent Stralbiski, CATCH Chair, addressed the Committee and provided an update on the continuing programs that CATCH continues to support following closure of
their local office and reduction in provincial funding. The Coalition continues to work behind the scenes and continues to provide coordinators to facilitate and support activities in both the aboriginal and mainstream communities. A review of
its programs was provided including the State of the Child Report, Children Friendly Communities, aboriginal family gathering, Parenting with Pizzazz conference, network meetings and resource swap, and online communities.

It was noted that Kent will be moving from the Central Okanagan and he was thanked for his professionalism and value which he has brought to the organization.

SHEPHERD/HODGE
THAT the presentation by Kent Stralbiski, Chair - Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH) be received.

CARRIED

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For Immediate Release
2010HSD0101-001229

Oct. 12, 2010
Ministry of Housing and Social Development
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
City of Kelowna

NEW SUPPORTIVE HOUSING FIGHTS HOMELESSNESS IN KELOWNA

KELOWNA – The governments of Canada, British Columbia and Kelowna, along with community partners, gathered today to celebrate the official opening of Willowbridge, a new building providing 40 studio apartments with integrated support services for people at risk of homelessness in Kelowna.

“Our government is proud to have contributed to Willowbridge Transitional Housing,” said the Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). “This type of supportive housing is a truly innovative and valuable addition to this community, because it bridges the gap between homelessness and stable, long-term affordable housing. For the individuals who will live here, these new units are more than just a roof over their heads – they are the key to a better future.”

“This development is another important step in breaking the cycle of homelessness in Kelowna,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development. “All of the partners have come together with a common goal - to connect individuals at risk of homelessness with safe, affordable and supportive housing. At Willowbridge, the tenants will have supports and services to help them be successful in life.”

Through an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Agreement, the federal government contributed $2,970,000 to the project. The province will give $4,832,205 and provide $487,312 in annual operational funding.

Willowbridge is the first of three buildings to officially open in Kelowna as a result of an agreement formed by the province and City of Kelowna in March 2008 to provide more supportive housing. The city provided land equity estimated at $564,400 for this development.

“Our city has been working in partnership with both the federal and provincial governments over the last few years to create more affordable housing to help at-risk individuals in our community,” said Mayor Sharon Shepherd, City of Kelowna. “Today is an exciting day for all partners and we would like to welcome the new residents to their home.”

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Kelowna and District Branch will manage and operate Willowbridge Transitional Housing Project. CMHA promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness, accomplishing this mission through advocacy, education, research and service.

“Our society’s goal is to not only provide a safe place to live at Willowbridge, but also a place where the complex issues residents face are understood and addressed,” said Shelagh Turner, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association – Kelowna and District Branch. “We are fortunate to have had the support of all levels of government to build this incredible building. It will go a long way to breaking the cycle of homelessness and ensuring marginalized people have the support they need in our community.”

In 2008, the Government of Canada committed more than $1.9 billion over five years to improve and build new affordable housing and to help the homeless. As part of this investment, the Affordable Housing Initiative and the federal renovation programs for low-income households were extended for two years, which represents some $60 million in federal funding for B.C. Canada's Economic Action Plan builds on this with an additional one-time investment of more than $2 billion over two years for the construction of new and the renovation of existing social housing. For B.C., this represents a further $150 million. The Action Plan also provides up to $2 billion in low-cost loans to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure.

Willowbridge is part of an overall $14-billion capital infrastructure program supported by the Province that will create up to 88,000 jobs and help build public infrastructure in every region of B.C. Increasing affordable housing, reducing homelessness and helping those who cannot help themselves is a key agenda for the Province of British Columbia. Through Housing Matters BC, the Province is addressing a range of housing needs, from homelessness to affordable rental housing and homeownership.

CMHC has been Canada's national housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country.

More information on Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the federal government’s plan to stimulate the economy and protect those hit hardest by the global recession, can be found at www.actionplan.gc.ca. To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642, or visit www.cmhc.ca/housingactionplan.

In 2010/11, the Province will invest over $562 million to provide affordable housing and fight homelessness, more than four times as much as in 2001. To find out more about affordable housing in B.C., visit www.bchousing.org .

‘Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness’ is a website providing a comprehensive and detailed look at provincial programs and services to address homelessness. Visit www.bchousing.org/breakingthecycle for more information.

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Older men increasingly find themselves on street
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - October 09, 2010

Homelessness is increasingly not just an affliction for young people.

The average age of clients using shelter beds at Howard House in South Vernon has climbed from 38 to 53 within the last five years.

“To get an average like that, we’re talking about many men over the age of 60,” said Barbara Levesque, executive director, who is helping organize activities for Homeless Action Week, which runs until Saturday.

“That tells us those are men who largely worked in low-skilled jobs or the forest sector and have run out of options.”

Working in mills provided opportunities for those with less education. Logging camps often fostered a transient lifestyle. Settling down and having a family became difficult.

“When the downturn came, they were done. If they were injured and in their 50s, you can’t work anymore,” said Levesque.

“Many of them have been contributing members of society and because of a breakdown in families, they don’t have families to turn to.”

Howard House’s 48 shelter beds haven’t been empty in about 10 months.

“Not everyone who uses our services is a drug addict or an alcoholic. One-third of the people we serve are just poor,” said Levesque, adding that many of them do have jobs but can’t afford rent.

In downtown Vernon, the Gateway Shelter has 25 beds for both men and women.

It’s not uncommon for about five men a night to be turned away because the beds are full.

“We see people on a pension. They have a choice — food or rent,” said Kelly Fehr, Gateway manager.

“There are people on disability and the cheque only covers food or rent, not both.”

It’s believed that about 90 per cent of the clients may have a form of mental illness. There are others with brain injuries and fetal alcohol syndrome.

“To say just get a job is not reasonable. It’s not about just getting sober,” said Fehr.

About 95 per cent of the clients have personal development plans, which not only provides them with extended use of a bed, but allows them to access a case worker who helps with life skills like cooking and budgeting. Health needs are a priority.

“We try to normalize what is perceived to be normal behaviour,” said Fehr.

“Things as simple as using a fork and knife are foreign after being in a homeless camp for two years.”

Besides Howard House and Gateway, numerous other agencies assist those in need. They include the Women’s Centre, the Salvation Army, the Upper Room Mission, the First Nations Friendship Centre and North Okanagan Youth and Family Services.

As part of Homeless Action Week, there will be a guest speaker, a Thanksgiving dinner at the Upper Room Mission Oct. 10 and service providers will be speaking to churches and organizations.

“Our message is we have had big successes in Vernon. We see big changes in people’s lives out of small programs,” said Levesque.

“We are encouraging people to donate to the Salvation Army food bank and the Upper Room Mission. It’s not just the homeless who benefit. There are people on a single income or seniors on a fixed income, and they’re struggling. They’re one step away from homelessness.”

But beyond a bag of food or a few dollars, what the homeless really need, according to Fehr, is understanding and a smile when they walk by.

“People need to have a little more compassion — to open their hearts. Teach your children about what poverty really stems from,” he said.

“People are homeless for a reason. It’s not a choice.”

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Increase the minimum wage?
by Castanet Staff - Story: 57383 - Oct 6, 2010

Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd says she supports a hike in the minimum wage in some form.

She just isn't sure if it is feasible for the minimum wage to rise $2 in one jump.

Currently, the $8 minimum wage in B.C. is the lowest in the country.

The BC Federation of Labour is again calling on the province to raise it to $10 while at the same time eliminating the $6 an hour starting wage.

The BC Fed made its latest request in a letter signed by 21 mayors across the province.

Ironically, the signatures of the nine Okanagan mayors are conspicuous by their absence.

Shepherd says she was unaware of the communication until asked about it by reporters.

"I never did see the request. We do check every correspondence we get," says Shepherd.

Despite not having a chance to sign the letter, Shepherd says she does support an increase in the minimum wage.

"I do have a concern about the minimum wage, particularly the starting wage. I think it should all be looked at," says Shepherd.

"I know in tough economic times you always worry about the small businesses and the impact in changing the wage. But, I'm supportive of revisiting that."

Shepherd says an incremental increase may be the best way to go.

"It could really have an impact, especially with the small businesses. If they brought it in over time I think that would be a better way."

She says all too often a wage is set and then left for years.

"Then you have to do a big catch up to accommodate where people should be at."

At the recently concluded Union of BC Municipalities convention in Whistler, Shepherd says she learned about something called a 'Living Wage.'

She says New Westminster was the first municipality to bring in the Living Wage.

Shepherd says the Living Wage is a calculation of what people need to live in a particular community.

She says in the case of New Westminster, the Living Wage would be the wage expectation for all civic employees.

"They also identified that any contracts would also have to have people that were paid that. They had control over that."

Shepherd says it's something that was very well received by the citizens of New Westminster and something she says Kelowna could look at.

Meantime, West Kelowna Mayor, Doug Findlater, says his municipality also was not approached by the BC Fed.

Regardless, Findlater says the municipality does not comment on provincial matters.

"Our council does not have a position, the mayor does not have a position, however, citizen Doug Findlater did sign a petition at the IPE supporting an increase in the minimum wage," says Findlater.

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Ideas on how to address affordable housing unlikely to benefit Kelowna
Kelowna Capital News - By Kathy Michaels - September 30, 2010

B.C. Housing Minister Rich Colemen’s suggestions on how to reduce the cost of new housing won’t necessarily make much difference in Kelowna.

Currently at the UBCM meeting in Whistler, where Coleman offered solutions to reduce the cost of housing by as much as $100,000 a unit through streamlining delays and cutting red tape, Mayor Sharon Shepherd said her staff have long ago implemented like-minded measures.

“It’s always good to review whether there are layers of bureaucracy that don’t need to be there, but I think we’ve always been a one-stop shop,” she said.

Kelowna city staff, Shepherd explained, has one place to review applications, as opposed to other cities that have a silo-system, that funnels applications through numerous branches of the municipal government.

“We’ve been quite progressive,” said Shepherd, adding she was more heartened to hear Coleman say his government would also be working toward lowering the cost of housing.

The Liberals intend to bring in major changes next year, including streamlining the B.C. Building Code.

What Shepherd said she would have liked to have heard, however, is news about how to increase the supply of affordable rental housing.

“I attended the full day workshop and I kept thinking there was really an elephant in the room,” she said. “The biggest challenge in our city is rental accommodations and we have been trying to get legislation implemented, federally, to encourage developers to build rental properties.

Kelowna has a 3.7 per cent rental vacancy rate, according to the latest figures by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Largely due to the over-supply of new, unoccupied condos, the rate surpassed the 2.9 per cent from the year before, and city-stagnating zero per cent of years past.

Once those hundreds of condos are soaked up, and the economy returns to usual, the problem with a limited housing supply is expected to return.

kmichaels "at" kelownacapnews.com

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Proactive employers explain ways to be child-friendly to employees
Kelowna Capital News - By Jennifer Smith - September 24, 2010

Can you call a car service to fetch some cat food on those days when your kid is sick, a report is due and your cell phone is on the fritz?

If it sounds too good to be true, perhaps you need a tour through some of the child-friendly employment options available in the Okanagan Valley.

Friday afternoon at the CATCH Coalition’s annual meet-and-greet networking session everyone from the mayor of Kelowna to the board of education chairman got to hear just how proactive some employers have become to attract and retain employees who are also parents.

“We realize we have a high place in the community and we feel responsibility for that,” said KPMG employee Derek Saunders, who described his firm’s family-focused policies as “giving back to the community.”

While not every employer can afford KPMG’s concierge service or the $20,000 stipend to help pay for adoption costs, every business can keep children and families in mind according to small business owner Angela O’Brien, who co-owns Esteem Lingerie in West Kelowna.

After finding herself pregnant shortly after taking on the business, O’Brien said she had to return to work with an infant and has consequently converted her entire workplace to suit children’s needs. Although she admits it took some time to figure out how to do so.

“Unfortunately, in the lingerie boutique industry the norm is, children 18 and under need not enter the shop,” she said.

O’Brien and her mother noticed that standard has created a young adult clientele who are not respectful, and ultimately uncomfortable, when they enter their store.

So they added a children’s play area, installed some child-friendly rules and regulations and set about trying to ensure kids are welcome and know how to behave in a store environment so they do not behave in the same manner when they are teenagers.

The Community Action Toward Children’s Health has been in operation for eight years, finding unique ways to ensure the Okanagan is child and family friendly.

Over the afternoon session they told participants they will release their third annual State of the Child report this fall and have just launched a new web site with more resources for parents.

They are looking to find a permanent guest blogger for the site and have connected it to a variety of blogs and resources in the area.

For more on the non-profit organization and the information they provide, go to www.catchcoalition.ca.

The annual State of the Child report will be released on Nov. 19.

jsmith "at" kelownacapnews.com

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Motel turned into affordable housing project
Kelowna Capital News - September 22, 2010

A new housing option developed by the province, the City of Kelowna, Interior Health and community partners will see the former La Mission Motor Inn converted temporarily into 39 affordable apartments for youth, families, elders and people at risk.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the community of Kelowna to benefit from an agreement that would see an otherwise vacant building provide 39 apartments for those who need it most,” said Kelowna-Country MLA Norm Letnick.

Located at 579 Truswell Rd. in the lower Mission, the property was purchased by the city in April 2010 as part of future plans to extend the Mission Creek Greenway Park in approximately two to five years.

A subsequent agreement was reached between the city and the province in June 2010 to lease the property for two years (with an option for annual extensions) in order to provide mixed-use affordable transition housing with minimal supports.

“We saw the opportunity to provide temporary housing and approached the province with our idea,” said Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd. “We have been thrilled at the response it’s received, and how all the partners have worked together to make this initiative become a reality.”

Interior Health will lease nine units for patients requiring medical procedures and for families of patients needing temporary, affordable accommodation.

The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society has been selected to operate and manage the building, which is being renamed White Buffalo Lodge. The society will operate the building based on the revenues received from tenants.

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In response
Vernon Morning Star - Letters -

Re: Rebel without a home. According to the article dated Aug. 1, Philip (Rebel) Harnish explains about life in his car on disability of $400 a month.

My problem with this statement is this, I know off hand that provincial disability pays just over $900 a month to disabled people on provincial disability. Why is it that Mr. Harnish has not got on provincial disability?

With the help of workers from the Disability Centre at the People Place who help people get on provincial disability, Mr. Harnish could change his life around and get out of living in his Lumina on the lake and also could get support of all sorts of things he would need.

I have seen many bachelor apartments available and one bedroom available in buildings with elevators for Mr. Harnish to use with his wheelchair for approximately $600 a month.

Even social services pays better than $400 a month and he could get a subsidy from them as well as the $400 he says he gets on disability.

Perhaps Mr. Harnish — aka. Rebel — is just that, rebellious and refuses to ask for help from the province?

I have personally seen the way he lives and it's no life to live like a hoarder in your car. Perhaps the nickname "Rebel" suits Mr. Harnish to a T.

It's not healthy for him to live like a rebel. God bless him and I hope he turns to help before it's too late and ends up hospitalized again.

Patti Mondor

You want to know why Mr. Harnish lives in his car.

Regular assistance (welfare) benefits you receive maximum $531.42 per month to live on

A person on Short term disability benefits (welfare) receives support $531.42 plus shelter $375.00 = maximum $906.42 per monthWhere can a person rent for $375 per month?

People receiving a CPP disability benefit in 2008 received, on average, about $799.14 each month. The benefit includes a fixed amount that everyone receives ($424.43 a month for 2009), plus an amount based on how much you contributed to the CPP during your entire working career. The most money you can receive from the disability benefit each month in 2009 is $1,105.99. Every January, there may be an increase to the CPP disability benefit to take into account any increase in the cost of living.

It is important for you to know that the CPP disability benefit is taxable.

CPP provides a benefit to all eligible contributors, even if they also receive disability income from other sources. You may be receiving disability payments from a private insurer or from a provincial social assistance program while CPP is processing your application. These other payments may be adjusted if you are approved for a CPP disability benefit. Contact your insurance company or social assistance program for details relating to your particular case.

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Unhealthy situations
The Ottawa Citizen - Health - August 23, 2010

The evidence is increasingly clear: being poor in Canada can make you sick. The latest proof, from

Statistics Canada, shows a connection between Type 2 diabetes, in women, and low household income and education.

The study, The Role of Socio-Economic Status in the Incidence of Diabetes, tracked the health of more than 17,000 Canadians for a year. The authors found that women in poorer households were significantly more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than other women, even when other contributing factors, such as weight and ethnic origin, were factored in.

This is the second major report linking poor health outcomes in Canada with poverty in the past month.

A study released earlier found that cancer patients from poorer communities in Ontario have a greater chance of dying prematurely than those from wealthier backgrounds.

Such findings will surprise no one who works in healthcare in Canada's poorer regions and communities. But even though the link between socio-economic status and health is undeniable, it still presents a challenge to the health-care system. We know the problem, but haven't found the solution.

In poorer rural parts of Ontario, for example, isolation and lack of access can be the biggest barriers to good treatment. Telling people to move into the city isn't an option, and neither is building hospitals in sparsely populated areas.

What is certain, though, is that health literacy is crucial. Indeed, the connection between low education and bad health suggests that education itself is a kind of preventative medicine. A well-educated society is a strong society, in more ways than one.

Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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We are going DOWN!

Metro Vancouver homeowners face risk
straight.com - By Carlito Pablo - July 21, 2010

A recent Metro Vancouver staff report contains disturbing figures about the extent of the housing problem in the region.

According to the report, written by senior housing planner Janet Kreda, a total of 55,765 households are at risk of being homeless.

Although one might assume that an overwhelming majority of these family units are renters, this isn’t the case. Some 24,470, or 44 percent, of these at-risk households are actually homeowners. The rest—31,295, or 56 percent—are tenants.

Although her report focuses on renters, Kreda acknowledged in a phone interview that the uncertain situation facing some property owners may merit future examination.

“People tend to say that homeowners have more choices and flexibility,” Kreda told the Georgia Straight. “One concern would be, of course, that the rental market is tight enough. If some of them are not able to stay in ownership, that would increase the pressure on the rental market.”

The housing planner noted that Canadian lending institutions have done a much better job of screening mortgage applicants compared with American financial companies, which were largely blamed for the U.S. housing crisis.

But Kreda isn’t inclined to suggest bailouts, noting that “ownership isn’t for everybody.”

In her paper, Kreda shows a strong correlation between income and the threat of being out on the street. Of the total number of vulnerable households, almost half—or 25,535—of them earned between $10,000 and $19,999 a year. Another group composed of 14,525 family units had incomes ranging from $20,000 to $29,999.

Included in the July 23 agenda of Metro Vancouver’s housing committee, the report defines an at-risk household as one that spends at least 50 percent of its gross income on shelter.

“These households are considered to be ‘one paycheck away from homelessness’ and therefore ‘at risk’ of homelessness because of a precarious and unsustainable housing situation,” Kreda wrote.

The paper utilized data from the 2006 census and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The report noted that all of the at-risk renters studied have an annual income of less than $50,000, and that 95 percent of them earn below $30,000. The average at-risk renter household in 2006 spent 70 percent of its income on shelter, leaving only $460 a month to cover other expenses, including food and clothing.

Women bear a heavy burden in keeping a roof over the heads of their family members. More than half (52 percent) of at-risk-renter households have women as the principal income earner. Some 86 percent of lone-parent family units in danger of being homeless are led by single moms.

Individuals who aren’t raising families are also facing the prospect of homelessness. An estimated 55 percent of at-risk renters comprise single-person households.

A majority of at-risk tenants (62 percent) range in age from 25 to 54.

Kreda recommended that the Metro Vancouver board ask the provincial government to expand its rental-assistance program. Launched in 2006, the program covers families with annual incomes of no more than $35,000. They must have at least one dependent child, possess assets worth less than $100,000, and spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. These households should not be receiving income assistance from the government. In the Lower Mainland, families with three members or less can receive a maximum of $653 in monthly benefits from the program. A family of four or more can get $765.

Kreda stated that in 2009, some 4,752 households in Metro Vancouver received support from this rental-assistance program. However, she also noted that it is not known how many of these households are made up of at-risk renters.

Kreda likewise explained that of the 31,295 at-risk-renter households, some 24,600 are working-class families that are not receiving income assistance from the government. Only 5,800, or 24 percent, meet the criteria of the rental-assistance program.

“The remaining 75 percent were households with singles, families with children older than 18, without children and non-family households,” Kreda wrote. The housing planner didn’t provide an estimate as to how much it would cost to provide rental assistance to these groups.

However, she underscored in the interview that investments to prevent people from ending up on the street are more affordable than dealing with more homelessness further down the road.

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July 8, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

No Item # posted in the RDCO Board agenda in regards to CATCH

July 8, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Special Board Meeting Minutes

Director Items was added to the agenda.

5. DIRECTOR ITEMS (requiring action)

a) Community Action Toward Children's Health (CATCH)
Director Shepherd noted that one of CATCH's goals is to support Central Okanagan become more child friendly. An on-line survey has been developed for child friendly communities at

http://spreadsheets.go09Ie.com/viewform?formkey=dGNQTFdaNS1ua2VDTONKc3pEciNUSHc6MQ

-------------------------------------

Audio - Revised Note Regarding This Meeting.pdf

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio Entire RDCO Board Meeting - Audio_Brd_July 8, 2010.mp3 -  (229 MB)

Windows Media File Icon - click for help with audio Audio clip of RDCO Board meeting only about CATCH .wma (356 KB)

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio Audio clip of RDCO Board meeting only about CATCH .mp3 (687 KB)

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High rent prompts demand for action
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - June 17, 2010

It’s a lot easier to find a place to rent but it’s going to cost you more.

The latest statistics indicate that the vacancy rate in Vernon is 5.6 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent in April 2009. But the rent for a two-bedroom apartment has climbed from an average of $763 to $787 a month.

“While the vacancy rate has increased, we’re not seeing any relief on affordability,” said Annette Sharkey, with the Social Planning Council.

The average income in Vernon is $23,000 a year, and Sharkey says that should allow an individual to handle a rent of $575 a month, far less than the market demands.

“This really puts a stress on families and especially single-parent families,” she said.

“If you are putting a majority of your income into housing, that leaves little extra for proper nutrition or medication not covered.”

Sharkey insists the lack of affordable housing should be a concern for all residents.

“We need to attract workers to the community so this is an economic issue. It’s an issue for businesses,” she said.

The Social Planning Council, the City of Vernon and Partners In Action have been bringing together various agencies in an attempt to address attainable housing.

“We need to stay focused and encourage the partnerships and the developers with multi-family projects,” said Sharkey.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports that vacancy rates have soared because of competition from investor-owned condos being rented out and secondary suites in homes.

“We have also seen a movement of renters into the home ownership market,” said Paul Fabri, a market analyst with the federal agency.

Fabri says the pace in which rent is increasing has moderated slightly in the North Okanagan, and he sees that trend continuing.

“Vernon will fall in line with the rest of the province,” he said.

“As the vacancy rate increases, we will see pressure on rent moderate.”

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Protest raises B.C. evictions issue
Vernon Morning Star - By Brent Mutis - June 19, 2010

Bear Lind and Sandra Pedersen protest the eviction of 200 people across B.C.
brent mutis/morning star

A modest protest took place Wednesday on 27th Street near Justice Park to voice opposition to evictions happening across B.C.

Organizer Sandra Pederson says about 200 people across the province have been issued eviction notices within the last six months warning them to be gone in no more than a year.

“There has to be some integrity for the people because they are going to be on the streets,” said Pedersen, carrying a sign as she appealed to motorists for support.

“It seems like big corporations that are buying these lands,” said Pedersen, who was served with a notice herself to vacate her home in a local mobile home park.

Pedersen says all her neighbours are in the same position.

“Most own manufactured homes and you can’t sell them,” said Pedersen.

“A lot of the trailers are more than 20 years old. You can’t move them.”

Pedersen cited examples in Victoria, Penticton and northern where similar things are happening.

If people wind up being forced from their homes, she’d like to see them given something for the intrusion.

“I’m just saying look at the integrity of the people and compensate them for their investment to enable them to move on in life,” she said.

“Most have used their life savings to buy what they have.”

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Housing development in Lumby
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 55112 - Jun 12, 2010

The Governments of Canada and British Columbia, along with community partners, gathered Saturday to celebrate the construction of Monashee Place, a 16-unit modular housing development for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities.

"The Government of Canada is helping Canadian seniors during these tough economic times by providing more than $1.1 million for this project through Canada's Economic Action Plan," said Colin Mayes, Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Shuswap, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

"Here in Lumby, this achievement gives hope to seniors who need quality affordable housing that meets their needs, while creating local jobs."

Eric Foster, MLA for Vernon-Monashee says the Province is providing approximately $1 million towards the development of 16 homes for low-income seniors and people with disabilities in Lumby.

"Constructed in British Columbia, these energy-efficient modular homes are an important part of the Province's ongoing commitment to providing more affordable housing solutions for British Columbians in need."

Through an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Initiative Agreement, the federal and provincial governments are contributing a combined total of approximately $2.1 million for 16 Seniors' Rental Housing units.

The Village of Lumby will be providing the development cost charges for these homes. The Lumby & District Senior Citizens Housing Society and the Village of Lumby jointly provided the land, valued at approximately $300,000.

"Lumby has a growing number of seniors, and these new homes will offer our seniors more access to much-needed affordable housing options so that they can continue to live in the community they helped build," says Mayor Kevin Acton, Village of Lumby.

The LDSCHS will manage and operate the 16 SRH apartments. The society currently operates Saddle Mountain, a 40-unit, low-income independent living seniors housing complex located immediately adjacent to the Monashee Place site.

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Dryden hears concerns about poverty
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 55105 - Jun 12, 2010

Liberal MP Ken Dryden made a stop in Kelowna to talk about poverty

Dryden and Okanagan Coquihalla candidate Ross Rebagliati hosted a round table forum on poverty at Okanagan College Friday afternoon.

The discussion, which included local politicians and advocates for issues surrounding poverty, touched on topics such as homelessness and affordable housing.

Dryden, the MP for York-Centre, and former Social Development Minister under then Prime Minister Paul Martin, has been touring the country talking to Canadians about poverty.

No matter where he goes in the country, Dryden says the conversation always comes back to affordable housing.

"There are usually two very powerful messages and I think there were here today as well. One is affordable housing, and it comes up everywhere. It is brought up by more people than any other issue and it keeps coming back in the course of the discussion," says Dryden.

"I knew I would hear that in Toronto, in Montreal and in Vancouver. I was surprised when I heard it in Hamilton, I was surprised when I heard it in Victoria, I was surprised when I heard it in Regina and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia."

Dryden says it is a central issue that is only exacerbated in a hot real estate market such as Kelowna and the Okanagan.

Kelowna's Homelessness Task Force as well as members of City Council have continued to lobby the federal government in an effort to obtain more funding for affordable housing initiatives.

Federal involvement has dropped over the years and Dryden says the longer government stays away from the table the harder it is to return.

"The challenge becomes that much greater than it was at a moment when incrementally governments were doing something more substantial. Instead of the larger mountain to climb being the greater reason to do more, it almost becomes the greater reason to do less because it seems so overwhelming."

Dryden says governments function best when there is a greater probability for success.

He says something else that offers a smaller mountain to climb may become the priority.

As for solutions, Dryden says one of the biggest stumbling blocks is people don't necessarily believe poverty and homelessness can be solved.

He says solutions can be found but people have to be determined to look for them and work towards them.

Dryden says he is passionate about poverty because he says he grew up in a time when people believed you not only grew up in a home but also in a community.

"As a parent, you not only tried to make your home life better but your community better. The world around you matters so you try to make the world around you better."

Meantime, while he wouldn't comment directly on rumours of a discussed merger between the federal Liberals and NDP, he did say the problems which have plagued the Liberals need to be addressed internally and not externally.

'The public has said very clearly to us in the last couple of years that we have no real affection for the Harper government. We understand their flaws and their failings but we don't understand you," adds Dryden.

"It is our task to come back with the best that is us. Looking for answers somewhere else is always to me looking in the wrong direction. Losers look in the wrong direction."

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Local company helps housing need
Kelowna Capital News - June 03, 2010

Ben Stewart Photo

For the first time, there are more seniors than school-aged children in B.C.

With the proportion of seniors in our population increasing, there are many new challenges to overcome to meet their needs and help seniors maintain a high standard of living.

One such challenge is housing. Seniors can have special needs that must be met by their home environment. Many seniors look to downsize their homes and move to a place that will address the mobility, dexterity and accessibility concerns they face.

Here in Kelowna, Chaparral Industries make custom modular homes. I recently met with an owner and toured its production facility. I’m convinced it can play a role in creating affordable options for seniors who want to live independently.

Chaparral operates a streamlined process to build houses and sell directly to the consumer. This keeps costs low. It operates with a standardized process but that does not mean its houses are cookie-cutter products. Chaparral works with its clients to meet their unique needs.

While touring Chaparral, I saw a sample house designed to meet the needs of some seniors. It was wheelchair-accessible, the door handles were easy to operate for those with reduced dexterity and the shower was easily accessible. Homes like this can be built or outfitted to work for whoever will live there.

Seniors currently benefit from a variety of government programs that help make housing options affordable. The Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) program offers monthly payments to help seniors with financial difficulties pay for their housing. Modular houses can be more affordable than regular housing, while still offering a high standard of living.

In many parts of B.C. affordable housing and seniors’ housing are at a premium and costs can be high. Modular houses create liveable and high quality homes without promoting sprawl. There is an opportunity to establish more seniors’ housing to meet the continuously growing needs of our aging population.

If you are interested in more information about the SAFER program, go to www.bchousing.org/programs/SAFER

Ben Stewart is the Liberal MLA for Westside-Kelowna

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NDP PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILL WOULD PROTECT HOMELESS, VULNERABLE
April 14, 2010

VANCOUVER - A private member's bill proposed by New Democrat MLA Jenny Kwan would amend the B.C. Human Rights Code to strengthen protections for the homeless.

Kwan's bill, the Protection of the Homeless Act, would amend the B.C. Human Rights Code to include the term "social condition" as prohibited grounds for discrimination.

"All members of our society deserve to be protected from discrimination, but unfortunately many of the most vulnerable members of society find they face discrimination simply because they are poor or homeless," said Kwan. "This amendment would help protect homeless and low-income individuals in our community from discrimination by ensuring that they are protected by the Human Rights Code."

Kwan was joined by community activists and representatives of organisations that work with the vulnerable, including Reverend Ric Matthews from the First United Church, UBC Law Professor Margot Young, Seth Klein from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Lobat Sadrehashemi from the Pivot Legal Society, and Judy Graves from the City of Vancouver.

"This bill would bring British Columbia in line with other jurisdictions across the country," said Kwan, who noted that Quebec, New Brunswick, and the Northwest Territories have included "social condition" in their human rights legislation.

In Kwan's bill, the term "social condition" includes anyone in a socially identifiable group that suffers from social or economic disadvantage on the basis of income, occupation, poverty, lack of adequate housing, or any similar circumstance.

"Existing human rights protections are too often inadequate to deal with discriminatory treatment experienced by low-income individuals, individuals on income assistance, and homeless individuals. This legislative response is an important part of better protecting the interests of the vulnerable and the less advantaged in our society," said Young.

"The United Nations called on Canada to implement these provisions in a 2008 report by UN Special Rapporteur to ensure marginalized groups are protected," said Kwan. "We are calling on the B.C. Liberal government to support this legislation."

Carole James and the New Democrats are committed to combating homelessness and protecting the vulnerable as part of a comprehensive and targeted poverty reduction strategy.

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 Victoria (City) v. Adams

[161] It was suggested at the hearing that there may also be some difficulty in determining who is a “homeless person” for the purposes of the order. The trial judge did not define the term, so there is no decision for this Court to review. Further, we did not receive full submissions on the question on the appeal. One possible description offered was that a homeless person is “a person who has neither a fixed address nor a predictable safe residence to return to on a daily basis”. Without endorsing that particular formulation as definitive, we find it to be a good working description of what is meant by a “homeless person” for the purposes of the order.

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/CA/09/05/2009BCCA0563.htm

The right of the homeless to sleep in a Victoria City park

In the Supreme Court of BC
Victoria (City) v. Adams

Dec 9, 2009
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/CA/09/05/2009BCCA0563.htm

July 30, 2009
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/09/10/2009BCSC1043.htm

April 3, 2009
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/CA/09/01/2009BCCA0172.htm

Sept 8, 2008
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/Jdb-txt/SC/08/12/2008BCSC1209.htm

Oct 14, 2008
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/Jdb-txt/SC/08/13/2008BCSC1363.htm

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Supreme Court of Canada Decisions Database

BC Supreme Court Decisions Database

BC Provincial Court Decisions Database

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.pdf icon March 11, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance & Services Committee Meeting Minutes (Pg. 2)

4. Transportation

4.1 Harry Grossmith, United Way re: Transit Assistance Program Update

Harry Grossmith addressed the Committee reviewing the Transit Assistance Program whereby the Regional District provides transit tickets free of charge and United Way distributes them to participating agencies on a monthly basis.

• Usage in 2009 was at an average of 600 tickets per month.
• The program has increased in popularity and many agencies are requesting an increase in tickets.
• The tickets are used by those who otherwise would be unable to travel to medical or social appointments, job interviews, counseling appointments, etc.
• An increase in tickets is being requested. From September-Maya request of 800 tickets per month. From June-August a request for 600 tickets. This will address seasonal requirements of the agencies.

It was noted that during deliberations of the regional grant in aid program, the question was raised whether a monthly pass might be better used. Erica Robinson, United Way, addressed the issue noting that no-one has asked for a monthly pass from the United Way. Staff noted that monthly passes are not transferrable.

Staff addressed the issue of number of tickets noting that 600 per month have been given in the past. The request from the United Way was for 800 but the financial impact on the budgets is too great; it is suggested an average of 700 per month be allocated.

It was agreed that the United Way, and not staff, should continue to be responsible for distributing transit passes and that staff meet with the United Way to discuss the possibility of a monthly pass program and what the financial impact would be.

It was noted that the United Way believes the current system works well and as the monthly pass is not transferrable the question of how a program might work was raised. Staff noted that the Board Chair has the authority to issue monthly passes on as a 'special need basis' and this program does work well when it is required.

SHEPHERD/BAKER
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommends that the Regional Board approve the United Way's request for an increase in the transit assistance program to 700 tickets per month for 2010;

AND FURTHER THAT staff be directed to work with the United Way to determine the possible need for a monthly pass program, as well as putting the United Way in contact with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Central Okanagan to review their requirements for a monthly transit pass program.

CARRIED

4.2 Transit Pass Grace Period Policy

Staff report dated March 3, 2010 outlined the need for a transit pass grace period.

Currently BC Transit does not supply a yearly pass product. Transit users can only purchase a current month and coming month pass at any time. As transit passes are sold through independent retailers, and expanding or maintaining the network of retailers has been a challenge, riders often find access to retail sales less than convenient. Given this a transit grace period is being recommended.

Staff noted they continue to look into new technologies when fare card technology is introduced later this year and the possibility of freestanding pay kiosks. Staff is getting a demo machine to try in order to determine its effectiveness. It was noted that in the past, on the very first day of the month transit users were not allowed to use the bus. This new policy would allow an opportunity for some flexibility for transit users.

Lloyd Hooper, Union Transit president, addressed the committee noting that most drivers do allow a 24 hour grace period. The concern is that there must be consistency in the program and that this policy must clearly be communicated with transit operators so there is an understanding what the 'policy' is.

Mike Doherty addressed the Committee noting that the operator does support the increased grace period policy and will communicate it to their drivers. This will help lessen the impact of confrontation that occasionally occurs between drivers
and transit users.

In follow-up to previous discussions regarding the difficulty in identifying monthly passes due to color and small print, BC Transit has yet to change the pass and drivers still find it difficult to clearly identify what month the pass is.

ACTION: Staff were asked to once again address with BC Transit the continuing issue of identifying monthly passes.

SHEPHERD/EDGSON
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommends that the Regional Board endorse a policy allowing transit drivers to extend a three (3) day grace period for the use of expired monthly bus passes at the beginning of each month.

AND FURTHER THAT the operator First Group ULC (formerly Far West) be directed to clearly communicate the policy to all its drivers.

CARRIED

4.3 Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Workplan and Budget

Staff report dated March 3, 2010 outlined the Transportation Demand Management Workplan and budget for 2010. The report outlined the background of TDM as well as the initiatives which have taken placed since 1998 including bicycle network master plan, construction of transit stations, carpooling promotion, promotion to change people's attitudes and behaviors with regards to transportation (Environmental Mind Grind, Environmental Expo, Commuter Challenge, Clean Air Day), implementation of the Bus Rapid Transportation initiative, administers the process for bus stops, benches, and shelters throughout the region, parking management initiatives, etc.

It was noted the program is contracted to the City of Kelowna at an annual cost of $245,490.

Discussion:
TDM is a regional program: Peachland and Lake Country do not participate in the TDM program.

The program is contracted by the City of Kelowna: Three salaried positions plus overhead associated with the service. Two staff persons are 30% funded directly by the City of Kelowna. 22-23% funding level from West Kelowna. Approximately 33% of participants are from West Kelowna.

Do we have a date for the beginning of the Rapid Bus Transit? The expansion to full BRT is not known. Staff is waiting for BC Transit's interpretation of the provincial budget to determine what funding is available for 2010 and what the impact on service will be. However, staff believe it is clear the Province does recognize the BRT expansion. Staff assume we will get the expansion for September. BC Transit will report at the next Governance and Services Committee meeting.

Staff are working on the issue regarding the height of the new concrete bus stops and bus, It was noted that the double bus may no longer be used for the BRT but may use the Nova buses. BC Transit is looking at this issue. They have assured staff that the height is not an issue for the bus.

SHEPHERD/EDGSON
THAT the Governance and Services Committee receive the Transportation Demand Management 2010 Workplan and budget which details the programs and direction for the regional Transportation Demand function.

CARRIED

It was noted that at a recent valley Mayors meeting there was great interest for a valley transportation system service extension between Penticton and West Kelowna, The service between Vernon and UBC-O remains very popular.

4.4 BC Transit's Strategic Plan

BC Transit letter of February 16, 2010 provided an update of BC Transit's Corporate Strategic Plan and the series of regional workshops which took place around the province in 2009. A review of the Central Okanagan's workshop was provided. Based on feedback BC Transit is further revising the draft corporate strategic plan for an expected release in the Spring of 2010.

BAKER/SHEPHERD
THAT the update on BC Transit's Corporate Strategic Plan be received and referred to the April Governance and Services Committee meeting,

CARRIED
It was noted that BC Transit recently held open houses in the community and concern was expressed that they were not well advertised, not communicated to elected officials and/or staff, and in one instance, at Orchard Park, there was noone in attendance, and it was not particularly clear what the open houses were for.

SHEPHERD/FINDLATER
THAT a letter be forwarded to BC Transit regarding the recently advertised open houses expressing concern regarding the lack of communication with local staff and elected officials on open house times, the reason for the consultation, communicating the cancellation and/or rebooking of times.

CARRIED

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Proud Canadians?
Vernon Morning Star - April 10, 2010

In October 1984, B.C. workers earned an average of $451.80 weekly or $23,493.60 per year.

Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians living on less than $25,000 a year; those that have lost jobs in our decreasing economy, pensioners, minimum wage earners, people receiving human resources and disability benefits. These folks can't even afford the basic essentials of life, let alone buy a home — they can barely afford to pay rent.

In the 80s, houses cost $25,000 to $100,000. In the past five years the cost of shelter has gone up 9.1 per cent.

Added to the unaffordable shelter are constantly increasing hydro, gas and civic utilities. Then there are taxes.

No wonder the fastest growing businesses today are banks. Food banks.

Our government can spend billions on the Olympics and big corporations, send the same to provide military resources to Afghanistan and donate millions to earthquake and tsunami victims in other countries. Yet in our own country we have children going to bed hungry and families with no roof over their heads, unemployed and living in poverty.

I am 75 years old and finding myself going deeper into debt. Pensions do not keep pace with the cost of living.

I am now forced to leave my home because of the increased strata fees, taxes and utilities. I will not receive what I paid for my house in this market and will have to go deeper in debt to buy some lesser accommodation.

Am I angry? You bet! I worked at the hospital for more than 25 years and yet can't afford to own or rent.

It is not only myself but also many others that are in the same boat. People with good paying jobs may be able to afford the constantly increasing costs but what happens when their jobs disappear as businesses close down, like the glass plant or mill closures? How many more people will be in my situation — some with young families?

My solution to these problems would be for the federal and provincial ministries responsible for taxation to issue Canadians with a yearly income of less than $30,000 a card stating they receive automatic discounts on rents, food, clothing, utilities — all the necessities of life, otherwise, we will see even more families, pensioners and the handicapped living on the streets.

Oh, yes we can wave the flag and own the podium while the government cuts services. Are we still proud Canadians?

Shame on Canada and shame on B.C.

Marilyn Zupp

I don't want a card, I want government to be not so reckless!

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Food bank facing high demand
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - March 27, 2010

There’s significant pressure to keep shelves full as demand skyrockets at Vernon’s food bank.

To date this year, the number of clients coming through the Salvation Army facility has climbed 18 per cent.

“It’s hard to tell if there is an economic recovery out there,” said David MacBain, community ministries director.

“There are a lot of people out there hurting.”

MacBain says many of the people walking through the door have never been there before, and it’s largely because they have lost their jobs or wages have been frozen.

“Some have applied and got two or three job interviews and others can’t get an interview at all,” he said.

“Jobs seem to be elusive for many people.”

The other problem facing both residents and the Salvation Army is the rising cost of food.

While a single hamper was valued at $55 in 2005, it’s now climbed to $99.

“It’s a huge indicator of where our money goes,” said MacBain.

“My pay cheque hasn’t doubled since then.”

To try and keep up with public demand, the Salvation Army is asking for ongoing community donations of non-perishable food items or money.

One way to get involved is to take part in the Real Canadian Superstore food drive until April 6.

“We couldn’t offer what we do to our clients without the support of the community,” said MacBain.

Donations can be made at the food bank at 3303- 32nd Ave. or by calling 250-549-4111.

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Updated Community Basic Needs Response for Vulnerable Residents

Many of our local community service providers are experiencing organizational challenges and for some, the change is significant as a result of direct or peer impacted funding deficits or lower donations and private contributions. Since it was announced last month that the Kelowna Drop-In Centre would be closing, a Basic Needs Listing has been created (attached) to remind Central Okanagan residents of the resources offered for some of our vulnerable residents during this time of transition.

“As our local service providers, the clientele they assist and, our communities at large continue to be impacted by announcements of program and/or resource closures during these economically challenging times”, Christene Walsh, Drug Policy Coordinator with the Regional District of Central Okanagan says, “Our communities unfortunately experienced a similar era of cut-backs in 2001. What’s different today is that previous hardship has taught us to network – communicate and work together to our best ability so to ensure anyone identified as being in need will continue to be heard and receive available assistance. Fortunately, our local communities have some very skilled, astute organizations, such as Kelowna’s Gospel Mission which is a key resource in the Basic Needs Listing. These organizations are continuing to work hard to maintain a solid level of service during these difficult times.”

Our local communities have demonstrated a commitment to continue working together to manage yet another period of transition. Walsh says, “I’ve recently heard of at least 5 organizations that have or will need to eliminate valued positions by March 31st. And, the level of professionalism and assistance offered by the employees impacted during this period of unimaginable stress is commendable and deserves to be acknowledged.”

Walsh adds, “One of the key roles of the Regional District Drug Policy Coordinator is to promote ongoing communication and collaboration among service providers. Again, this action is a strong example of our community’s commitment to work together and address any concern that may arise in order to ensure a safe and strong community for everyone.”

Service providers and members of the public interested in learning about programs and services available within the Central Okanagan can visit an online Community Info Search at www.kcr.ca or may phone Kelowna Community Resources at 250-763-8008.

(March 26, 2010)

Source Regional District of Central Okanagan "What's New"

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Commitment to help homeless reinforced by regional district
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - March 18, 2010

More emphasis will now be placed on helping the homeless in the Central Okanagan.

Regional district chairman Robert Hobson said drug policy coordinator Christene Walsh’s role is being expanded this year to address homelessness issues.

“It was part of the Four Pillars project anyway, but it wasn’t where the focus has been,” said Hobson.

“Christene Walsh has really been focusing on the drug service issues, detox and other things. She’s now going to spend some of her time looking on the homeless issues as well.”

Hobson said Walsh would become a full-time employee in August, as opposed to a part-time contractor, to reflect her increased role.

Hobson said it made sense for Walsh to tackle homelessness along with drug prevention.

“A lot of good things have been achieved in the drug area, so there is (need) we feel for part of her work to go into the homelessness area.

“There’s a very close connection between homelessness issues and drug and dependency issues in any event.”

Hobson said the board’s decision to hire Walsh full-time would fulfill the first of 28 recommendations in a regional drug strategy, called the Central Okanagan Framework for Action, which was completed by the Central Okanagan Four Pillars Coalition in May 2005.

The coalition is comprised of about three-dozen community-based service agencies, which are attempting to find solutions related to substance use and abuse in the Central Okanagan.

In addition to hiring a drug policy coordinator, the strategy also recommended urban renewal initiatives, improved needle drop box services, a youth shelter and drop in centre, support of methadone treatment programs, increased capacity in youth, adult and aboriginal addictive services, an RCMP special projects team, expansion of low-income housing projects, funding for supportive recovery housing, public health outreach and public education.

Walsh has been working with the four pillars initiative for three years.

jluciw "at" kelownacapenws.com

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Taxi Saver program back in service
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - February 11, 2010

A squeaky wheel got a vital program for the disabled back on course.

Vernonites that use the Taxi Saver program have been told it will immediately resume although it had been postponed because of a lack of money.

“I’m very happy,” said Karen Wheeler, who has a seizure disorder and depends on Taxi Saver to get around.

Vernon clients were informed at the end of January that no coupons would be distributed until April 1 because the program had reached its budget for the current fiscal year.

To protest the move, Wheeler began making calls to B.C. Transit, which oversees the program, and an article appeared in The Morning Star Feb. 5. She received notice Wednesday that Taxi Saver was being reinstated before April 1.

“I wonder whose feathers I rubbed the right way for them to make a decision like this?” said Wheeler.

Under the program, clients with mobility issues can purchase up to $80 worth of coupons a month to use a taxi at a cost of $40.

The subsidy comes from B.C. Transit and the City of Vernon.

About 275 letters of the program’s cancellation were sent out to Vernon area residents, and they are now being contacted about the reversed decision.

“We really do apologize to our customers who were inconvenienced,” said Joanna Morton, with B.C. Transit.

Morton says the decision to begin selling Taxi Saver coupons again was made after the agency looked at its financial status.

“It was proactive planning and we saw savings in other parts of the budget and namely with fuel savings,” she said.

With the program back on track for the remainder of the 2009/10 fiscal year, Wheeler wants assurances that such situations won’t occur in the future.

“They should be able to budget properly,” she said.

According to Morton, demands for the service are under review by B.C. Transit.

“Looking into the 2010/11 fiscal year, we’re definitely going to look at the budget and whether there is enough money allocated to the program,” she said.
 

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Resident angered with stalled taxi program
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - February 06, 2010

A lack of money means disabled residents can’t access a program that assists with mobility.

Clients of the Taxi Saver program were informed at the end of January that no coupons will be distributed until April 1 because the B.C. Transit initiative has reached its budget for the current fiscal year.

“They have mismanaged their money and why should I suffer because of it?” said Karen Wheeler, 50, of Vernon.

Under the program, clients can purchase up to $80 worth of coupons a month to use a taxi at a cost of $40. The subsidy comes from B.C. Transit and the City of Vernon.

Wheeler, who has a seizure disorder and can’t drive, and her mother, who has arthritis in her feet, have been using the program since 2004.

They live in the Blue Jay subdivision along Old Kamloops Road and there isn’t transit there. Taxis allow them to get to appointments or to shop.

“It’s the only way we can get around,” said Wheeler, adding that paying for the full cost of a cab is challenging.

“It’s about $15 to get to Safeway and that’s just one way.”

It’s been suggested that Wheeler and others can use handyDART in the interim, but she insists rides must be booked a week in advance.

“They’re not available in the evenings or on Sundays,” she said.

Wheeler believes about 200 to 300 people, including many seniors, in Vernon use Taxi Saver.

“We pay into this. It’s not free,” she said, adding that her and her mother spend about $1,000 a year on coupons.

Wheeler hopes to pressure B.C. Transit to change its decision.

“I don’t know what I’ll do (until April 1). I hope they’ll see the light. This is totally unacceptable,” she said.

Officials with B.C. Transit say Taxi Saver is only supposed to be a supplementary support and clients should be using handyDart as their primary source of transportation in Vernon.

“The only reason someone should have to use Taxi Saver is if handyDART is not available to take them to an appointment,” said Joanna Morton, with the corporation’s communications department.

Morton says handyDART buses are available Monday to Friday 12 hours a day.

“The hours are very flexible,” she said.

Morton could not say what the current budget for Taxi Saver is across B.C.

“We are currently reviewing the 2010/11 budget and consideration may be given to increasing the budget,” she said.

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Bill concerns Kindale
Vernon Morning Star - January 30, 2010

I am writing to the premier about our concerns over the action of the B.C. Legislature Nov. 18 in changing the Community Living Authority Act outlined in Bill 20, section 15, part six.

Reference the composition of the CLBC Board of Directors, two to four, in the act prior to the change.

2) All directors, other than a director referred to in a subsection (4), must have the necessary skills, qualifications and experience to direct the authority.

3) Subject to subsection (2) and section 6 (2) (c), a majority of directors must be (a) individuals referred to in the definition of "community living support," or (b) individuals who have significant connection to the individuals referred to in paragraph (a), including family members.

4) Subject to subsection 6 (2) (c), two of the directors must be individuals with a developmental disability.

However, the result of the legislative change is the CLBC Board will no longer have as directors ,a majority of people with developmental disabilities and family members.

Yet these provisions included in the act were widely supported by Liberal and NDP MLAs in the legislature.

The inclusion of families and people with disabilities on the CLBC board is realistic because they relied on CLBC to provide opportunities for a good life. They knew the reality of what CLBC did or its impact on the lives of those they served.

Our fear now is that the B.C. government has turned the clock back. The hope of people with disabilities and their families that the B.C. government's "great goal" of building the "best system of support in Canada for persons with disabilities, those with special needs, children at risk and seniors" is stalled.

It is now time to reset the clock and ensure the Community Living board is composed as follows:

1. People having the necessary skills, qualifications and experience to direct the authority.

2. A majority of the directors must be people with disabilities, those connected to people with disabilities, including their family members.

Kevin Campbell, president, Kindale Developmental Association

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BC government introduces forced shelter bill
The Tyee.ca - By Andrew MacLeod - October 29, 2009

Housing and social development minister Rich Coleman introduced legislation today that will allow police to force homeless people to go to shelters during extreme weather.

“This act will give police a tool to say, 'You have to go to the shelter,'” said Coleman. Once offered a bed and a meal, most people will choose to stay, he said. “We just think we need the tool to get them there.”

Coleman described how police officers will be able to use the new authority: “If you're on the street and you walk up to someone and you say, 'You know, it's 30 below zero and you're going to freeze out here.' And they say, 'I'm not going anywhere.' You say, 'Well actually there's a shelter and I have the authority to take you to the shelter.'”

Coleman acknowledged the bill may face a charter challenge in court. “Our advice is this one could be challenged and frankly I think that's healthy,” he said.

The bill comes to the legislature the day before the Olympic torch relay begins. Asked if it is part of a plan to sweep the streets of homeless people before and during the Olympic Games in Vancouver, Coleman said. “That always comes up but I'm going to tell you it's absolutely wrong . . . This has got nothing to do with the Olympics.”

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Reports finds gap between the rich and poor widening
Kelowna Capital News - By Alistair Waters - October 06, 2009

The Central Okanagan has received a failing grade when it comes to the perception of the gap between rich and poor here.

The grade, handed out by 400 “citizen graders” covers one of 11 subject areas on a community report card issued by the Central Okanagan Foundation.

The report, called Vital Signs, a Community Check-Up, was released Tuesday by the foundation.

Executive director Leanne Hammond Komori said while the letter grades assigned to the different issues are strictly subjective and not based on the data collected from sources such as Statistics Canada and the last national census, they do serve to show what the respondents believe are issues that need attention.

Hammond Komori said the local check-up is one of 15 similar report cards done in communities across the country.

While subjects covered differ from place to place, the 11 areas looked at here were deemed to be ones of most concern locally.

The marks included a D+ for the gap between rich and poor, C- for housing, Cs for getting started, getting around and work, B- for belonging and leadership and Bs for learning, the environment, health and wellness, arts and culture and safety.

Hammond Komori said the aim of the foundation’s report, whichit wants to make an annual exercise, is to spark discussion, action and change. “We hope this will not be a report that gets shelved,” she said.

The COF received a $15,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation to do the report card and drew on 400 volunteer graders from selected groups throughout the community to come up with the letter grades.

A was deemed as very good—stay the course, while F was a fail—immediate action is crucial. D was deemed poor with substantial additional work required.

The short booklet report—which is accompanied by more information on the foundation’s website—highlights the individual issues and includes subsets of information.

“It’s intentionally short,” said Hammond Komori. “It’s meant to be a little snapshot.”

Included under Learning is the woeful lack of quality child care in the community—waiting lists of 330 for the 114 infant and toddlers childcare spaces currently available here, 227 for the 530 school-age spaces and a shortfall of 136 spaces for before- and after-school care.

Under Getting Around, the data collected shows the Central Okanagan is still home to a strong “car culture while housing says that generally housing here is considered expensive and there has been an increase in the number of homeless shelter beds in recent years.”

But while all the sections contain highlights and lowlights, it is the gap between rich and poor that generated the most concern from respondents.

The report shows while seniors here tend to be more affluent than their counterparts in the rest of B.C., the number of adults receiving employment insurance benefits here is higher than in the rest of the province.

Food and shelter costs account for all or most of a lower-income family’s monthly budget and without access to affordable food, lower income families are unable to afford healthy food options necessary for optimal child development and disease prevention, says the report.

Recently, the Kelowna food bank introduced a program for monthly donations in part because of the large number of children it is now serving.

While Hammond Komori said overall, the report appears to point to a community that feels it is doing quite well, there are issues that need to be addressed and she hopes the report will help target the funds her organization hands out.

She added the aim of the report is not only to help the COF target its funding, but also to help the public be more active in helping address those issues.

awaters "at" kelownacapnews.com

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If the government was doing its job, maybe there wouldn't be homelessness!  Obviously the government is not doing its job, do ya think!

B.C. homeless win right to camp in parks
CBC News - December 9, 2009

Homeless people can camp temporarily in public parks if municipalities can't provide them with sufficient alternative shelter, British Columbia's highest court ruled Wednesday.

The B.C. Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a Victoria bylaw banning camping in city parks by the homeless.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge had ruled in October 2008 that it was unconstitutional for Victoria to restrict overnight camping in its parks if all shelter beds in the city are full.

The city appealed, backed by the provincial government and the Union of B.C. Municipalities, arguing among other things that the ruling intruded on the city's right to make laws.

Camping right limited
However, the appeal court said the trial judge did not improperly intrude on those rights and left it to the city to find solutions to the problem.

While upholding the decision, the appeal court agreed to alter the wording of the ruling to clarify the case. It said there are limits to the camping rights of the homeless, and that Victoria could resolve the issue by making more shelter space available.

After the original B.C. Supreme Court decision, Victoria brought in a revised bylaw that banned camping in parks during daylight hours, and a provincial court judge upheld this in a decision last February. That decision also was superseded by Wednesday's ruling.

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Councillor says tax stance not an attack on food banks
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - November 03, 2009

In responding to criticism about his reasons for denying a tax exemption for the Westside food bank property last week, West Kelowna Coun. Bryden Winsby is making it clear his stance is not an attack on the organization.

Winsby continues to stand behind his reasons for denying the $3,200 tax break, but offered a further explanation for comments he made on the matter at a council meeting last week Those commnets landed him in hot water with food bank supporters on the weekend.

In maintaining his opposition to the exemption at the Oct. 27 meeting, Winsby said he never indicated, or inferred, that he didn’t think the food bank was a valuable service in the community.

But he then said something that seemed to contradictory.

“I’m not convinced that we need, or should have, food banks. But that’s another issue,” said Winsby.

He told the Capital News this week that he was raising a philosophical matter, and the comment was not aimed at the local non-profit organization.

“As one of the most industrialized nations in world, why do we have food banks?” Winsby asked.

There are many reasons people come to rely on food banks and Winsby questions if senior levels of government are doing enough to address the root causes of hunger in this country, which include unemployment and gaps in social programs.

“Should we, as a municipality, provide social services, and in what form? Where do we draw the line?

“That’s the conundrum that I have and before we go down that slippery slope, let’s take a careful look at tax exemptions.”

Council needs to take a closer look at its entire tax exemption policy and who’s on the list, which is made up predominantly of churches, said the councillor.

The issue should be a priority for the municipality next year and Winsby said he will raise the matter during council’s strategic planning sessions this fall.

For now though, he is standing firm in his belief that council must be careful not to go down a road that opens a can of worms, which could eventually lead to exemptions for all non-profit organizations in West Kelowna.

“There may be hundreds helped by the food bank and there may be dozens helped by another organization that happens to have real estate holdings. Where do we draw the line between who gets a deferral or an exemption and who doesn’t?”

Of the two other members of council who voted against the food bank tax exemption, Mayor Doug Findlater said he perhaps should have voted differently.

However, it was too late to reconsider the matter because the tax exemption list was due into the province by Oct. 31 and changes would put all other tax breaks in jeopardy, the mayor noted.

Like Winsby, Coun. Carol Zanon stood by her original opposition to the exemption.

However, she told the Capital News afterwards that her decision was based on an earlier council decision to support the food bank in another way.

Council is selling T-shirts commemorating the Glenrosa and Rose Valley forest fire response and giving net proceeds to the food bank.

Both Findlater and Winsby have also indicated that the food bank may apply for a grant-in-aid from council next year.

Both said they would consider giving the grant during budget deliberations in the spring.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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Kelowna BC Manufacturer

Canadian Super Igloo Domes

Help contribute to eradicate homelessness by learning more about Canadian Super Igloo (Dome Home).

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.pdf icon September 10, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan - Governance & Services Committee Meeting Minutes

3.3 Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH) - Shan Lavel, Coalition Manager re: Update on program

Shan Lavell, Coalition Manager, updated the Committee on the programs CATCH oversees.

Highlights included:

BC has the highest child poverty in Canada for the past five years; 25% of children in BC enter school 'vulnerable'; 21% of BC children live in households below the poverty line (does not include aboriginal children on reserves); early childhood development is a wise investment.

Priorities for community action were reviewed including: more access to childcare options, develop central places in the community to meet the needs of young children and their caregivers, more recreational opportunities, civic planning to enhance the liveability and inclusiveness of our community, more support for vulnerable families.

CATCH has expressed interest in locating their offices with the Regional District office space. The Administrator will work with CATCH to determine their needs and the resource space available in the building.

The Regional District financially supports CATCH with an annual contribution of $5,000.

#GS75/09 SHEPHERD/EDGSON
THAT the presentation from the Community Action Towards Children's Health (CATCH) be received.

CARRIED

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Family dream comes true with attainable housing
The Daiy Courier - By J.P. SQUIRE - 2009-12-20

The Jennings-Ladd family is looking forward to finally moving into a new home.

Scott Jennings, Shyla Ladd and their four children, who range from six to 13 years of age, are involved with Project Build II.

For many would-be home buyers, saving the down payment required to buy a house is an almost unattainable goal, even if those would-be home buyers could afford the monthly mortgage payments.

So the Central Okanagan Foundation and its partners have stepped in with $1.35 million.

Thirty families or individuals like the Jennings-Ladds will receive a non-repayable grant of $45,000 toward the purchase of a home in the Sageglenn development on Chase Road in Lake Country.

“The need for attainable housing in the Okanagan has been here for awhile,” said Leanne Hammond Komori, the foundation‘s executive director.

“Working with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, there will be an opportunity for many of these homeowners to apply for a non-repayable second loan of $24,000 to put in secondary suites, providing an income stream and affordable rental housing in a market which cannot meet its present demand.”

“Project Build II has opened up new possibilities for our family,” said Jennings. “Thoughts of a new home have our family very excited for Christmas and the New Year.”

Two weeks ago, after finding out about their lot, “Shyla and I drove up to the site, sat right in the middle of our lot and dreamed of what was quickly becoming a dream come true,” said Jennings.

“So much more is still to come; 2010 will most certainly be bigger than the Olympics to our family.”

When the project was first announced, the foundation suggested a total of 20 lots with homes in the $400,000 range. However, the number has now climbed to 30 with the support of trades people, led by Rob Anderson of Built-Rite Homes. Ground has already been broken on the first lots.

“This is a pilot project with interest expressed by many sectors of the community who wish to provide attainable housing throughout the Okanagan,” said Komori.

“Lake Country is very pleased to be participating in Project Build II which provides a great opportunity for people to obtain quality family housing who need help with the down payment,” said Lake Country Mayor James Baker.

“Applicants truly represent who is actually living in the Okanagan and contributing to the health and wellness of this region,” added Mary Jo Schnepf, a foundation director.

“We have single dads raising their children, young families, families with teens and families with special needs. An overriding feeling of this project is that of being grateful.”

Even those who were not selected in the first round of applications expressed whole-hearted support for the project, she said, “and thanked the team for making this happen – even if it didn‘t work out for them.”

The partners in the project are: the foundation, Sageglenn Developments, Build-Rite Homes and its trades, The Property Source Group, TD Bank, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the District of Lake Country.

The deadline for applications is noon on Jan. 15. More information is available at thepropertysource.ca or centralokanaganfoundation.org.

Grant application forms can be downloaded from the websites or hard copies can be obtained from: the Central Okanagan Foundation, 217-1889 Springfield Rd., Kelowna; the District of Lake Country,

10150 Bottom Wood Lake Rd., Lake Country; and The Property Source Group – MacDonald Realty, 592 KLO Rd., Kelowna.

Project Build I was a single-family house, which was sold and the proceeds used to launch Project Build II.

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Higher vacancy rate doesn’t address affordability issue
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - December 17, 2009

It’s easier to find a place to live in Vernon, but high costs are still leaving people on the sidelines.

The local vacancy rate is currently 3.1 per cent, up from one per cent in October 2008 and the highest it has been since 2002.

However, rent for a two-bedroom apartment has gone from $764 to $780, while it has gone from $653 to $632 for a one-bedroom.

“A healthy vacancy rate is four to five per cent so we’re not there yet,” said Annette Sharkey, with the Social Planning Council.

“There are more options for families but affordability is a concern. Rents aren’t coming down.”

Coun. Buffy Baumbrough, who sits on the city’s affordable housing committee, welcomes the higher vacancy rate but only sees it as a first step.

“We are hearing from people who can’t afford units or have mobility issues and can’t find units,” she said.

“The vacancy rate going up hasn’t changed that.”

Vernon’s income rate is lower than the provincial average and a high number of children are on income assistance., according to Sharkey.

“We’re still concerned about people paying rent and still feeding their children,” she said.

The primary reason for the vacancy rate climbing is the recession.

“Fewer job opportunities mean fewer people moving into the area and less demand for rental housing,” said Paul Fabri, a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation analyst.

Other factors have been condominiums being rented out instead of sold, and people purchasing homes.

“I expect we won’t see vacancy rates drop down to zero where they were before. It should remain where we are during 2010,” said Fabri.

The affordable housing committee continues to investigate options for all income levels.

“We’re not easing up on efforts to bring affordability to Vernon,” she said.

And Sharkey points out that there are some people with good-paying jobs that can’t afford housing and that hurts the economy.

“If we can’t keep working families in the community, it impacts business’ ability to grow and prosper,” she said.

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Food bank’s tax break request rejected by council
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - October 15, 2009

Surprise and disbelief sum up how president of the Westside Community Foodbank Society Helen Holton feels after West Kelowna council rejected tax exempt status for the food bank’s operations in downtown Westbank.

“I just can’t even believe it to be quite honest with you,” Holton said.

“It’s a big chunk of money to have to put out.”

The money Holton refers to is the $1,600 in annual taxes that West Kelowna refused to waive for the non-profit organization.

Another $1,600 exemption would come from other levies on West Kelowna tax bills, for things like schools, the hospital and regional district services.

Holton added that for every $1 the food bank saved, it could use discounts and special deals offered the organization to buy up to $3 worth of food. “I am quite upset about the whole thing because the Kelowna Community Food Bank is tax exempt because they are a charitable organization.

“So, I cannot even believe (West Kelowna) would not include us in property tax exemptions in the same way.”

However, the City of Kelowna’s long list of tax exemptions was one of the things that prompted West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater to vote against a similar break for his community’s food bank.

“When Kelowna’s exemption list is published it’s a full page centre spread. It’s absolutely huge,” commented Findlater.

Other non-profit groups could also start requesting exemptions, noted Findlater.

“If we start down this road of exempting all of these worthwhile, needy non-profit societies, we’re going to have a very long list of these, once we set this precedent.”

According to the mayor, other municipalities in the valley, like Penticton, are looking to claw back their exemptions, meaning West Kelowna should not look to increase its list.

Findlater was joined by Couns. Carol Zanon and Bryden Winsby in opposing the exemption.

The move surprised Coun. David Knowles, who was in favour of the exemption, along with Couns. Duane Ophus and Gord Milsom.

A motion to include the food bank in the 2010 list of tax exemptions was defeated by a tie vote, with Coun. Rosalind Neis not in attendance at this week’s meeting.

“I am really upset, really disappointed. I can’t believe it,” Knowles said after council adjourned Tuesday afternoon.

During the meeting, Knowles made a case for the food bank’s tax break request.

“These are probably the most needy people that we have in our community and they’ve had a tough few years and I think it would be very valuable to our community to give them this tax exemption,” commented Knowles.

The food bank is helping about 225 families each month, so far this year, or roughly 600 individuals, according to society treasurer David Lanthier. That’s a 50 to 60 per cent over last year’s monthly client totals, he noted.

The increased demand comes as the food bank gets set to open a new location at the corner of Hebert and Churchill roads on Oct. 21.

The purchase of a duplex, which the organization incorporated into one building, was made necessary by unaffordable rents at commercial locations and the organization’s eviction from its old premises on Pamela Road last year. The old site is being torn down to make way for a new RCMP detachment.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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Homeless report ready for council
Castatnet.net by Wayne Moore - Story: 47313 Jun 1, 2009

A much anticipated draft report on ending homelessness in Kelowna has finally been released.

The report outlines a number of strategies aimed at ending homelessness in the city within 10 years.

Among the strategies outlined in the draft report are initiatives to provide permanent housing to people as quickly as possible, address the root causes of homelessness through housing, income and supports, increase the community capacity to end homelessness and to prevent people from becoming homeless.

"This report is to create a committee of council to carry out a clear action strategy based on the draft Ending Homelessness plan. This report is the continuation of work that has been underway for quite some time," Community Planning Manager, Theresa Eichler told City Council Monday.

"The intent of the committee is to come forward with very specific actions and implementation of those actions so we just don't have another document on the shelf."

Despite not receiving a full copy of the report in time for Monday's meeting, Council did agree to adopt Terms of Reference to establish a Council Committee to End Homelessness and provide that committee with $1,700 to cover routine expenses.

"This is an issue that has been perking away without having come to council to be enshrined within our committee system. We need to give it our support and provide the leadership," says Councillor, Robert Hobson.

"I very much support the direction the committee is going. I am very much a supporter of housing first as a solution to a lot of social issues. We have to achieve that."

The budget for the initial report was approximately $100,000.

Close to half of that was obtained through private donations while the provincial and federal governments also contributed.

Hobson, also Chair of the Regional District, says regional funds were also contributed.

"I think some of the regional partners will want to be involved in the next step of the process. We really need a regional solution to housing. I know the committee doesn't want to take on the world, but housing has to be dealt with at a regional level."

While the committee will report back to council on a regular basis, Eichler says it's not clear how long they will need to bring back a final report.

"Once their work is complete, they will end."

View complete draft report. (This is a PDF File)

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Plan to end homelessness to come before city council 
Text By Jennifer Smith - Kelowna Capital News - Published: May 30, 2009

It started with a workshop on homelessness conducted at the mayor’s request.

Now Kelowna city council will get their first look at a plan to end homelessness within the next 10 years created by stakeholders who deal with the issue on a daily basis and members of the business community with the expertise to get the job done.

It’s a formula being used elsewhere, most notably in Calgary, where some of the city’s top business minds have been working on a committee to do the same.

“The draft report provides guidance on how to proceed toward the goal of ending homelessness in Kelowna,” community planning manager Theresa Eichler said in a press release issued Thursday.

The project had a $100,000 from a private donor and some $30,000 remains in that fund to be used by the Committee to End Homelessness council will be asked to formally solidify on Monday.

The report itself is titled Home For Good: Kelowna’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness and was prepared by the committee and the Poverty and Homelessness Action Team of the Central Okanagan (PHATCO).

PHATCO will now take this draft report and use it to focus its ongoing efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing, address the root causes of homelessness and develop prevention strategies, the press release added. The council advisory committee would establish priorities and a timeline to implement its plan to end homelessness with input from council and city staff.

jsmith [at] kelownacapnews.com

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.pdf icon February 20, 2009 Governance & Services Committee Meeting Minutes

17) Poverty/Homeless Action Team

Mike Loewen and Ian Graham were in attendance and addressed the Committee on the grant application:

  • Represents two organizations today, including the Committee To End Homelessness.

  • The evolution of the Team was reviewed. The committee has acted as a conduit for Federal funding for various organizations in the region.

  • Request is part of the $100,000 plan to end homelessness. All funds have been committed on the expenditure side of the plan but the organization is $25,000 short of funds to pay for the plan.

  • Very little overhead costs associated with the project.

o Poverty/Homeless Action Team Request $8,000.

Peachland $233; City of Kelowna - $5,511; West Kelowna $1,000; Central Okanagan East - $100; Central Okanagan West - $212; Lake Country $500; Allocation $7,556

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Food Banks are DeGrading

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Victoria police clear tent city, arrest 5 CBC News Oct 17, 2008

Court strikes down Victoria bylaw against homeless camping CBC News Oct 14, 2008

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Never doubt the ability of a small group of concerned citizens to change the world.  In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.

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If you have comments, ideas, solutions, concerns or complaints regarding homelessness, please make a comment by filling out the form below and/or comment directly to the government itself.

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http://invisiblepeople.tv/

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