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More emergency winter shelter spaces on the way for Kelowna

There will be approximately 290 beds available on a nightly basis this winter
(Kelowna Capital News file photo)

Several emergency shelter spaces are being added as Kelowna braces for a cold snap beginning Saturday.

With temperatures expected to hover near -20 C for an entire week, BC Housing has collaborated with the Journey Home Society, the City of Kelowna and local shelter operators to add new spaces.

Both shelters at Richter and Doyle have added an additional 10 beds each. Cornerstone shelter at 425 Leon Avenue has been renovated and increased its capacity by 16 beds.

Metro Central at 1262 St. Paul Street is open as a drop-in centre for unhoused people to access hygiene services like showers and laundry.

In an effort to replace some of the shelter spaces that have been lost due to the pandemic, Kelowna Unitarians at 310 Bertram Street has converted their space to a 25-bed temporary shelter. The mat program will be run by Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. The program is expected to open in phases starting early in January and will run until March 31, 2022.

“Kelowna Unitarians are excited about the opportunity to support our community in this way,” says Danielle Webber, Kelowna Unitarians’ Minister. “Our first principle honours the worth and dignity of every human being and having the resources to share our space with unhoused community members allows us to bring life to this principle.”

There are currently five shelters operating in Kelowna and, with the addition of the emergency mats at Kelowna Unitarians, there will be approximately 290 beds available on a nightly basis this winter.

Shelter guests will have access to daily meals, storage for their belongings, washrooms and amenity space. Staff will be on-site at all times when the shelter is open and can provide information to neighbours and community members who may have questions or concerns.

READ MORE: Salvation Army responds to extreme weather in B.C., readies temporary shelters

READ MORE: B.C. government warns strong storms will clash with ‘Arctic air’ over the holidays

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