A homeless Rossland man will be safe and comfortable this winter thanks to the generosity of the community — and the flexibility of Rossland city council.
Garry Camozzi was given permission to live in a trailer set up in the driveway of a local man who raised funds to purchase the shelter.
“It was not something I asked for,” Camozzi told the Rossland News. “I am humbled and I am honoured.”
The decision by council on Monday night ended a four-month drive to find shelter for Camozzi, a Rossland man who’s lived rough in the bush around town for years.
“It’s a big relief, we’ve come up against a lot of roadblocks to get us here,” said Ryan Kelly, who led the push for help for Camozzi. “Garry is very cozy where he is, and we are very thankful that things have worked out the way they did.”
After raising more than $9,000 for a shelter in an online campaign, topped up with his own funds and savings from Camozzi, Kelly began looking for a trailer.
He found one near Edmonton in the fall, and had it shipped to Rossland.
The original plan was to place the mobile in a local trailer court. But when that fell through, and winter coming on fast, Kelly began searching for an alternative arrangement.
He went to Rossland city council to ask for permission to allow the trailer to be set up in his driveway, temporarily.
“The city understood what we were up against, who it was for, and that it was for a good cause,” he says. “It was not a precedent-setting solution, for allowing the variance, but it was a special case and a special circumstance. The heart strings came through rather than being a stickler for the rules.”
On Monday Jan. 20 council gave its okay to the variance, allowing the trailer to remain in Kelly’s yard until October 2020.
But Kelly says it won’t be there that long.
“Come spring we have a line on a lot out towards the ski hill that won’t be built on for a while,” he said. “We can hook him up to the sewer and water there. But for now we’re going to ride out the winter and we are very thankful the city came through for us.”
Camozzi says he never expected to be in such a place, and he’s grateful to the support he’s received from the public.
“I’m thankful to be able to continue in a way that’s not just sheer, stark survival,” he says. “Which it has been to this point. Some years have been pretty tough.”
Kelly is just happy his friend has a place to stay, and that Rossland is the way it is.
“I’m just thankful for the community’s support and the understanding of the situation,” he says. “We’re looking after our most vulnerable. Be the change you want to be in the world. Everyone needs a helping hand sometime.”