A discussion on homelessness is coming to East Hill Community Church Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. (Submitted Photo)

Homelessness and drug addiction on topic in North Okanagan

East Hill Talks features street chaplain

The doors of communication are opening around homelessness and drug addiction in Vernon.

While the effects of drug addiction will be discussed, the dynamics of homeless and how needs are being addressed will be on topic as well as questions about whether a new framework or community service is needed.

The East Hill Community Church presents East Hill Talks, a discussion forum with street chaplain Chuck Harper and voices from the downtown business community on Friday, Feb. 21, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

“We’re hosting the forum because we want to grow our awareness of who struggles with homelessness and/or addiction and the reasons for it. Many of us have been touched by these two issues, which are certainly distinct but often interrelated,” said Daryl DeKlerk with the church. “Some of us live, work or volunteer downtown where it’s most acute, so a forum like this can give us a safe place to share experiences and lessons for each other’s benefit. Others of us are at arm’s length and don’t have a good grasp of the complexities. It’s easy to have either no opinion or strong opinions one way or the other, so a ‘town hall’ meeting allows us to learn from each other and weight perspectives we haven’t thought of.”

While many may want to steer the conversation around what’s getting out of hand, the event aims to celebrate how people are finding hope and being helped.

“We want to encourage those who work behind the scenes with such dedication and compassion. Finally, it may also be valuable to discern how the volume or nature of needs and problems is changing and how existing efforts are challenged by that. We can’t fix everything with a forum like this, but if it links like-minded people then God can use it for good.”

READ MORE: Province to count Okanagan’s homeless

READ MORE: Scooter stolen from Vernon woman returned one month later


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