Vernon”s Upper Room Mission is doing what it can to help homeless people no longer allowed to camp in city parks.
Executive Director Lisa Anderson says they’re taking advantage of storage sheds at the Mission for their belongings.
“The six that were made are all full now.Then we still have two additional sheds that Home Depot donated to us. I’m sure they will be filled up by the end of this week.”
The Mission closes at 5 o’clock so anyone using them has to remove their belongings by then.
The no camping bylaw is in effect 9 am to 9 pm.
“I feel bad that we don’t have enough storage space but we don’t have the space, we don’t have the funds, we don’t have the staff that could run this program.”
Anderson says they can’t use the Mission’s basement because it;s too busy and that area is need to put program’s on.
The Mission is back to 9 – 5 hours after summer staff hired through a grant finished last week.
She admits tensions are running high at times.
“The clients are, you know, stressed out and kind of snippy at one another. They get upset with our staff and vice-versa.”
Anderson says the Mission has had to resort to setting up no trespassing signs because of people setting up tents and carts in the parking lot.
She says she’s been talking with the campers and they agree there is only one solution – housing.
“And they said you know if there was more housing for us then we wouldn’t have this problem and people wouldn’t have to see us with our carts in Polson Park or on the street.”
Anderson admits there are some who don’t want to go into a shelter, but there are others who are actively looking for housing.
The Mission works with them daily trying to get interviews lined up for rental properties but it’s challenging.
Lisa Anderson says it made a difference when the John Howard Society opened the Blair Apartments, but more is needed.