ROTHENBURGER – The long and sad history of homelessness in Kamloops

Kamloops’ first social housing project — the Provincial Home for Old Men. It opened in 1895.

IT MIGHT SEEM that homelessness is a relatively new issue in Kamloops but, in fact, it’s been around for more than 125 years — basically since the city was incorporated.

Which raises the question: if the problem hasn’t been fixed in all that time, what chance is there of doing it now?

What lessons are there to be taken from history? In April of 2011, I was asked to speak about that history at a forum hosted by the Homelessness Action Plan, an initiative I’ll say more about shortly.

After the forum, I wrote a column summarizing my remarks. I began with the city’s first social housing project.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9504 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – The long and sad history of homelessness in Kamloops

  1. Trish Keegan // July 16, 2022 at 2:13 PM // Reply

    see Kamloops Provincial Old Men’s Home on you tube. Frank Dwyer wrote this piece while working with the Sagebrush Neighbourhood Association and the City on the building of the new gates for the Old Men’s Cemetery on 6th Avenue.

  2. I presented a tiny solution to the homelessness problem to some of the agencies involved. I told them I was willing to train/coach and pay well a person willing to show up every day to put in a decent effort and pay a little attention to the tasks at hand…people supposedly have the freedom to discard solutions.

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