Protesters amplified their demand for Grand Forks to act quickly and establish a winter shelter for people experiencing homelessness in the area.
“It’s so cold out there at night, people are freezing in a motorhome,” said Mona Rosengren, who is living in a trailer east of downtown at the Moto site. “It’s an ice bucket.”
A couple dozen local demonstrators, joined by activist Ivan Drury of the Alliance Against Displacement – a group that has staged rallies in Maple Ridge, Kelowna and Nanaimo – took to the park to speak about what they said is an urgent need to speed up the process of getting a shelter set up in Grand Forks.
“We want the city to do something about a shelter now,” said Grand Forks Humanitarian Action Group (GFHAG) member Terri Taggart – “not in three weeks – now.”
Flanked by members of the homeless community in Grand Forks and fellow GFHAG supporters, Lorraine Dick took to the microphone to explain what she sees happening in Grand Forks.
Both Taggart and Dick expressed frustration with the time that the City and the Social Services Advisory Group (SSAG) have taken to settle on a solution.
In order to set up a BC Housing-funded shelter in Grand Forks, the Crown corporation has said that it needs three things confirmed: a location, an operator and the approval from council. As of yet, none of the three pillars are confirmed, despite several churches having looked into the possibility of offering the space and the advisory group reaching out to other organizations.
“We want to send a message to the City and the province that these people are freezing to death,” said Taggart. “Where’s our humanity?”