The West Kelowna Shelter Society operates out of the Westbank United Church. (Phil McLachlan - West K News)

The West Kelowna Shelter Society operates out of the Westbank United Church. (Phil McLachlan - West K News)

Enough shelter spaces as temperatures dip in Kelowna, West Kelowna

Local advocates say this is thanks to collaboration between various agencies

Every time the mercury dips below freezing, advocates and shelter volunteers often worry about residents who are experiencing homelessness.

However, this year there is less to be concerned about.

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission executive director Carmen Rempel said compared to past years, shelters in the city are a lot more prepared, with enough beds for those who need to get out of the harsh overnight temperatures.

“Our shelters are full and they have been full and as we added beds, they’ve continuously filled up,” Rempel said.

“I don’t think there have been very many nights at all where we haven’t been completely maxed out. Our understanding is that everybody who wants to be inside can be inside this winter.”

The biggest change, she said, is that more people want to stay indoors throughout the day instead of just coming to the shelters at night.

She said different agencies in Kelowna and West Kelowna, in collaboration with BC Housing and Journey Home, have all worked hard in keeping people warm as temperatures continue to dip.

Metro Community’s executive director Amber Webster-Kotak said the Welcome Inn’s 39 beds have all been occupied since opening in November.

“I would say we are certainly seeing those people who are the last to come in, starting to seek shelter a bit more keenly this time around, asking if they can get a bed with us or asking where else they can get a bed,” she said.

“Right now, we’re enjoying a great sense of collaboration between the various emergency winter shelters and the existing shelters.”

She said shelter guests are also more likely to stay indoors all day, but some still leave to go about their day.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the Central Okanagan forecasting temperatures in the region to be between 10 and 20 degrees cooler than seasonal average.

An Arctic outflow warning is possible beginning Wednesday (Feb. 10) night as wind chill values approach – 20C.

Shelters in both Kelowna and West Kelowna are always open to help. This winter, they’re asking for warm clothes and other items like hand warmers, gloves, and toques. The West Kelowna Shelter Society launched its Backpack Essentials program in January and is still looking for items to fill backpacks for use by those living in the streets.

Clothing donations to the Mission can be dropped off at their thrift store on Roxby Road in Rutland. Donations to the Welcome Inn can be dropped off at the shelter.

READ: Experts say race for COVID drugs dogged by false promises, lack of co-ordination


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Homeless

Just Posted

This Doughnut of society and planetary boundaries from Doughnut Economics is described as a compass for human prosperity in the 21st century, whose goal is to meet the needs of all people within the means of the planet. (Kate Raworth and Christian Guthier image. CC-BY-SA 4.0)
P0st-pandemic: Shuswap resident puts focus on how community can thrive

Groups hire expert to find path for city to recovery and sustainability

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

Vernon local Ryan Lazar – who specializes in 2D background design and 3D animation – is ready to start his career after a tough yet rewarding two years of studies. (Contributed)
Okanagan College students get animated at graduation

‘The pandemic has resulted in more video consumption and the animation industry is so hot right now because of it’

Salmon Arm RCMP seize a handgun, drugs and cash at a Silver Creek property on Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Police seize handgun, drugs and cash at a Shuswap property

Salmon Arm RCMP said warrant for Silver Creek revealed cannabis, possible cocaine, magic mushrooms

Salmon Arm RCMP are seeking witnesses to a single-vehicle collision that occurred on Highway 1 on May 16, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP seek persons who transported injured driver, motorcycle to hospital

Motorcyclist involved in a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Barriere RCMP nabbed two suspects who were allegedly breaking into cabins in McLure. (File photo)
Thieves nabbed by Barriere Mounties during McLure break-ins

Police Service Dog Kody instrumental in making the arrest

(File photo)
Repeated cougar sighting on Okanagan Rail Trail

Plenty of bear sightings around the valley too

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

RCMP vest
Penticton beach brawl results in one arrest but no charges

People took to social media after a fight broke out at the fire pits at Okanagan Lake Saturday

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

A single motorcycle parked outside of the Kelowna Hells Angels clubhouse at 837 Ellis Street on July 9, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Hells Angels prospect sentenced to 9 months in jail for aggravated assault

Colin Michael Bayley pleaded guilty to the downtown Kelowna assault earlier this month

Vernon Search and Rescue, along with Shuswap members, rescued three kayakers near Lumby Sunday, May 16, 2021. (VSAR Instagram)
3 kayakers rescued in North Okanagan

Shuswap, Vernon search and rescue teams make swift-water rescue Sunday

Most Read