Kelowna’s Gospel Mission is staying open 24/7 during the current smokey conditions.—Image credit: Google Maps

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission open 24/7 during smokey conditions

Mission operators say those on the street need a place to go where the air is clear.

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission says it is keeping it doors open round the clock to help help the homeless stay out of the smokey conditions that have enveloped the city.

The local 100-bed emergency shelter on Leon Avenue announced Tuesday it stay open 24/7 as the smoke continues to hang over the valley.

“While most people are able to stay inside with air conditioning, homeless people do not have that option,” said the Gospel Mission in a news release announcing the move.

“Over the last few days’ clients of the shelter have been complaining about difficulty breathing, headaches and eye irritation.”

Executive director Randy Benson said the mission decided decided to stay open because of the ongoing smoke advisory.

He said while staying open makes it difficult for staff and volunteers to clean the shelter, get paperwork done and take a break, it was felt it was “imperative” that people on the street have a safe place to stay until the smoke clears up.

The shelter provides about 600 meals per day and regularly fills its 80 shelter beds.

“Because of the affordable housing shortage in Kelowna, we are finding more and more people displaced with the shelter being their only option.” said Benson. “ We want to keep everyone safe while they are taking steps to find housing.”