BC Housing Minister David Eby has released a statement in response to the city of Penticton officially taking the B.C. government to court over the dispute around the Victory Church homeless shelter.
The city announced on Wednesday, July 7 the petition was officially filed with the B.C. Supreme Court to challenge the provincial government over their use of paramountcy powers to overrule the city’s council bylaw and decisions regarding the shelter.
The city wants the shelter that houses over 40 people closed immediately, while BC Housing has kept the shelter open and plans to do so until an alternative housing solution arises.
Eby replied to the Penticton Western News’ request for comment to say that he was unable to comment on details of the case, but he is also disappointed to hear about Penticton’s decision.
“It appears that the best case scenario from Penticton’s perspective is that they spend $300,000 and increase the city’s street homeless population by 42 people,” Eby said in a written statement. “We will continue to work with Penticton city staff to respond to that city’s ongoing homelessness crisis, despite this lawsuit.”
The statement also noted that BC housing and the province would continue to work with the city on the ongoing homelessness crisis despite the legal battle. BC Housing recently announced that they were beginning the audit requested by Penticton council earlier this year.
“Our position has been, and will continue to be, that bringing people experiencing homelessness indoors is far better than putting them on out on the streets, without the supports and services they need,” Eby concluded