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RDEK throwing support behind Cranbrook homelessness initiative

The RDEK Board of Directors approved sending $85,000 to the City of Cranbrook to help fund a new poverty reduction initiative.

The proposed initiative will see a new staff position in Cranbrook.

Mayor Wayne Price says it will be a dedicated position to look over issues related to homelessness, drug addiction and crime.

“The purpose is to help us deal with the immediate concerns that we have with the homeless situation and crime and drug issues that we are confronted with in Cranbrook right now,” he said.

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“The title that we’re are going to have is community development coordinator for the city of Cranbrook.”

The proposed position will address gaps in service in the community and communicate with the province to coordinate support and solutions.

RDEK Vice Chair Susan Clovechok says the RDEK supports the initiative and thinks it could be beneficial to the entire region.

“We recognize that the issues impacting Cranbrook are really impacting the entire east Kootenay. We fully support and back up Cranrbook on these initiatives because we believe in the long run this will benefit the entire region.”

Price agreed and says the Cranbrooks homeless population is made up of people from around the area.

“All though it’s a Cranbrook problem it stems from the region. Contrary to what people believe they’re not coming from Vancouver or the Okanagan,” he added.

“In one year we’ve gone from 65 homeless to 200 and they are from the immediate region. These are people coming to Cranbrook from the smaller areas and communities in the East Kootenay simply because they don’t have the resources in the smaller communities to deal with drug addictions and homeless issues.”

The city is planning to put up $50,000 towards the new position and city council is expected to make its final decision during the Mar. 27 council meeting.

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