A homeless shelter in West Kelowna has opened at Emmanuel Church and will offer its services for the colder months. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

West Kelowna urged to help the homeless

A location for a drop-in centre is needed to shelter those on the street from the cold

West Kelowna council is being urged to join the effort to help the homeless in the city.

On Monday night, Rosemary Weighill, a member of Westbank United Church and a board member of the West Kelowna Shelter Society told council homelessness in West Kelowna is getting worse and the city’s help is needed to find a suitable location for a drop-in centre to give those on the street a place to go, especially now that the weather is getting colder.

“This is a matter of life and death,” she said.

While a shelter in West Kelowna has been created for those on the street to spend the night, and the Westbank United Church has started a lunch program that runs three days a week, Weighill said there are gaps which leave people nowhere to go for several hours during the day.

Mayor Doug Findlater said senior city staff have met with representatives of the West Kelowna Shelter Society and are looking into the issue.

Weighill said there is the possibility of a funding from B.C. Housing to help but a location must be found first.

Findlater said there is also the possibility of grant-in-aid funding from the city but decisions on grants-in-aid for 2018 have yet to be made.

Weighill said last year an average of 11 people per night sought shelter in West Kelowna but this year the number has jumped to 20 people per night, and has gone as high as 26.

The lunch program the United Church started caters to about 26 people but as the weather gets colder that number is also increasing.

“We see about 56 on cold days,” she said, adding its not just the homeless who are showing up—lonely seniors, people who are otherwise isolated in the community, low income families and young adults are also using the lunch program

But she said there is a four-hour gap between when the lunch ends and when the shelter opens and people on the street have nowhere to go and that’s why a drop-in centre is needed.

“This is a fairly urgent request,” she told council. “We need to be finding a place soon.”

Findlater said city staff will continue working with the West Kelowna Shelter Society in a bid to find a possible location for a drop-in centre.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



awaters@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Top 5 places to take your dog in Kelowna

Here are our top five places to take your furry friend

COSAR makes Kelowna Law Day debut

The search and rescue team was on scene as Girl Guides were arrested left and right

Kelowna woman runs to beat hunger

Teri Kanner is collecting donations for the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank

Battle of the concert bands in Lake Country

The annual Concert Band competition is held at Creekside Theatre April 24 to 26

Snoozed through the news? We’ve got you covered

Every Saturday, the Capital News will feature popular stories from the week

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

Kamloops RCMP respond to report of dead body floating in Thompson River

Body has not been located, searches to continue as river conditions improve

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

VIDEO: 33 Oliver-area homes evacuated due to flooding

Flooding in the Sportsman Bowl area has swelled drastically over course of one week

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Most Read