Gospel Mission and NOW Canada step up to help homeless community

Two local organizations have stepped up to ensure the 35 people scheduled to lose their overnight homes by week's end remain sheltered.

  • Feb. 25, 2015 10:00 a.m.

Two local organizations have stepped up to ensure the 35 people scheduled to lose their overnight homes by week’s end remain sheltered.

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and NOW Canada have room to shelter the 35 people who are presently staying at Inn From the Cold.  Both emergency shelters have beds available as well as mats for overflow and do not anticipate turning anyone away.

Due to limited funding, the Inn From the Cold homeless shelter will close on March 1, 2015. In cancelling the overnight shelter services, Inn From the Cold (IFTC) will be able to retain other year-round programs and continue to support individuals most at risk for homelessness.

“It’s apparent the Kelowna community has a need for housing,” said Mark Dixon, IFTC Chairman of the Board. “So, with our limited funding dollars, our decision is to provide permanent housing year-round, reducing our short-term, temporary housing seasonally, as needed.”

The cost of IFTC programs is supported through small grants, generous donations, organized fundraising events, in-kind donations and from dedicated volunteers.  “We have done everything possible to avoid closing the shelter, but, unfortunately, we were unable to secure the necessary funding,” said Tara Tschritter, IFTC Agency Coordinator. “I want to express my gratitude to our dedicated staff and volunteers who, from their tremendous effort, have made the shelter operate so well over the last several months.”

The IFTC aims to provide overnight shelter to people living on the streets during Kelowna’s coldest winter months. This winter, the shelter opened on Nov. 15, 2014 offering minimal barrier shelter with 35 beds serving the most vulnerable homeless members of the community. Without core government funding, this year, IFTC has no option but to cut short their winter shelter season.

IFTC will continue to offer the following year-round programs:

·         Chandler House – providing eight individuals, permanent supportive housing for those in the community who have experienced chronic homelessness.

·         Inn Home Support Program – a homeless prevention program that supporting persons who have found housing

·         Community Outreach – connecting someone experiencing homelessness with an outreach worker

·         Free Store – providing free items such as clothing, outdoor gear and toiletries to those in need

·         Kelowna Kodiaks – providing the homeless and marginalised members of the community an opportunity to participate and benefit from the team-building sport of soccer

IFTC is a charity organization that will continue to seek funding opportunities, in-kind donations, and participation from the community in fundraising initiatives like the Dining Out to End Homelessness dinner series and the Push To End Homelessness shopping cart race. Information and tickets are available online at www.innfromthecoldkelowna.org or phone 250-448-5153.

Kelowna Capital News