Community discussion to take place in North Kamloops around continuing supports for vulnerable

What comes after The Loop?

A community forum will take place Thursday morning to come up with a plan for how to support the North Shore’s most vulnerable residents after Tranquille Road drop-in centre The Loop closes.

Local real estate agent Brendan Shaw purchased the building housing The Loop at 405 Tranquille Rd., giving the drop-in centre 20 days to vacate the premises.

Bonnie McBride, a supporter of The Loop, said Thursday’s forum will serve as a space to discuss what services the community might be able to provide in the wake of the drop-in centre closing.

The forum will take place at 405 Tranquille Rd. at 10:30 a.m.

“The announcement of The Loop having their lease terminated, affects a lot of people — both that frequent The Loop, and that care about people who are at The Loop, or have businesses or homes around The Loop,” McBride said.

“It's important to me that we have a plan moving forward, in between The Loop having to move its physical operation or terminate it and something more formal coming into place on the North Shore.”

The City of Kamloops has said together with its partners, it is aiming to open an access hub in North Kamloops by the winter.

McBride said she contacted The Loop co-ordinator Glenn Hilke and offered to facilitate a discussion with a larger group of people about what can be done in the interim.

“One of the challenges that our community and our business community has with The Loop is that they're providing more service than they have capacity for — which is where we see some of the challenges arise,” she said.

She said her goal is to bring in more people to have a conversation about which services can be offered by others, where the community needs to come together, and how to involve The Loop’s volunteer group.

She noted anyone is welcome to attend, but it will be a “constructive conversation” — not a place to discuss whether there’s value in providing services to vulnerable people or whether it’s right to change the use of the property The Loop leases.

“We know that the people who are street entrenched, that population is people with disabilities, intellectual disabilities, trauma are highly over represented. They require interdependent services. We need to support them. So that's what the conversation will be,” McBride said.

She said she’s concerned with the loss of The Loop amid the lack of other spaces on the North Shore to offer supports to vulnerable people.

“The last thing we want is for people — especially women who live on the street — to have to meet their needs outside of a caring environment. The farther we get from people being in the line of sight, the more likely they are to experience grave harm,” McBride said.

She said this can include overdoses, and people making decisions impacting their personal safety because they require food, shelter or protection.

“We want to make sure that we're providing services where people are as safe as possible,” she said.

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