As the temperatures continue to dip, those experiencing homelessness in Kelowna will soon have additional places to stay warm and sheltered.
With current shelters operating at, or near capacity most nights, the Journey Home Society is working with service providers, the Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness (LECoH), A Way Home Kelowna and the City of Kelowna, to develop a temporary winter shelter program.
“We are collaborating with numerous partners to finalize temporary winter shelter solutions,” said Debbie Hubbard, executive board member of the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society.
“At this point, we are working to confirm sites and number of temporary winter shelter beds. We will release that information as soon as we are able to.”
To date, the society has not been able to successfully secure any sites for a warming centre and are asking the community for suggestions or available spaces that could provide this service.
“The warming centres provide a clean and safe place for people to take refuge from the cold, especially for people who prefer not to stay in a shelter,” said Hubbard.
Across the province, the temporary and extreme weather response shelter programs will see 1,355 temporary shelter spaces and 820 extreme weather response shelter spaces in addition to the over 2,000 permanent, year-round emergency shelter spaces.
“During the colder months, it’s important that people experiencing homelessness in our province know that there is a place they can go to get warm and find supports and services that can help them stabilize their lives,” said Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing.
“As we continue the work of building permanent housing, we’re proud to work in partnership with communities and non-profit housing providers to provide these shelter spaces.”
Temporary shelters will be open every night for the season. Many will be open 24/7 and offer meals.
Extreme weather response shelters will be available from Nov. 1, 2019, until March 31, 2020.