Chrissy Deye and Dan Sallis of Crossroads Free Methodist Church in Salmon Arm have been helping homeless people who have been told to move from their tent camp at the west end of town. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Chrissy Deye and Dan Sallis of Crossroads Free Methodist Church in Salmon Arm have been helping homeless people who have been told to move from their tent camp at the west end of town. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Homeless tenters must move for four-laning preparation

Cold snap prompts volunteers to provide rooms, food for those trying to survive outside

Tents are being dismantled, tarps and makeshift fencing taken down, blankets stuffed into garbage bags.

It’s -15 C, so along with struggling with their belongings, people are fighting to keep warm.

It is moving week for those who camp across the Trans-Canada Highway from DeMille’s Farm Market at the west end of Salmon Arm.

Staff Sgt. Scott West of the Salmon Arm RCMP confirmed Tuesday, Feb. 5 that officers went to the site on Jan. 29 and 30 to inform people there that they were on the right-of-way for the four-lane highway project.

The visit “was to give these persons advance notice that Ministry of Transportation contractors will begin work there this week so they may move their tents,” West said.

A ministry spokesperson stated in a Feb. 6 email that the preload portion of work is getting underway this week, and it is no longer safe for the campers.

“While no official notice was given to the campers by the ministry, our staff did contact the RCMP, who spoke with the campers about this matter.”

A few volunteers were helping with the move Tuesday, among them Chrissy Deye and Dan Sallis with the Crossroads Free Methodist Church. Deye says seven people in total are now being housed in four rooms at the Travelodge, and the church has been fundraising for propane and heaters for those still living in tents in this cold snap. Volunteers have also been providing meals.

She speaks passionately about how much she cares for these people and how they deserve better.

“It’s so mercilessly cold right now for these guys.”

The homeless shelter, for one reason or another, is not a fit for everyone.

Related: A population in crisis: Homelessness in the Shuswap

Sallis has experienced homelessness firsthand, so understands what people are going through.

“I made some poor decisions and ended up paying the price,” he says, which left him homeless for a few months in the summer.

He began volunteering with the church, cooking for the Sonlight Kitchen. He says they regularly serve 80 plates on Tuesdays, a number which Deye says rose to 167 the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

From cooking at the church, positive things snowballed for him, and he was able to get a steady job and a place to live.

“If you see four homeless people, there are 100 you don’t see,” he contends, pointing out how completely unreachable housing prices are for so many people.

He also understands why addictions can take hold.

“You wake up thinking you’re garbage,” so drugs or alcohol can provide relief. “Some of these people have done it (being without a home) for four years, seven years, and it’s so crushing. My heart definitely bleeds for the human condition,” he says.

“Things like safety, warmth – these are things every human should have.”

Sallis stresses that people who are homeless have to be part of the solution. Although giving them money helps, they need a long-term remedy.

“If there was a place that could offer housing and work. Say, a motel, where they could work and stay…,” he says, providing a gradual entry into a new life. “It’s got to be small steps.”

Sallis and Chrissy Deye have brought a truck to help people move their belongings.

Sandy Bunting is dismantling a tent structure where she stays sometimes, while Nicole Salter and Craig Lagore are taking down what has been their home for six months. They have been together for five years but have seen hard times and have never been able to keep a permanent home because of little money and high prices.

Related: Street life taking its toll

Salter says she would like to see a reality show feature people who are homeless.

“I would like to see other people go in our shoes.”

Lagore notes that people say, “Pull up your socks,” but it’s not that simple. For instance, an address is key to accessing many things necessary for a stable life.

Bunting says she does her best to help people who are down and out, making use of discarded foods for others and “binning” for supplies.

“There are a lot of good homeless people.”

She gives kudos to stores like Neptune Pools, Nufloors and Scrappy’s who provide access to wood, metal shelving, underlay and thick plastics.

“If it weren’t for them, we’d all be freezing.”

She says A&W is equally great, allowing people to sit inside in order to get warm.

Bunting’s voice catches when it’s noted it must be tough for people to be forced to leave a spot at this time of year.

“Yeah, they don’t know how cold it is.”

To contribute to those needing help during the cold weather, email Chrissy Deye at chrissydeye@gmail.com.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Craig Lagore and Nicole Salter have lived in their tent shelter off the Trans-Canada Highway at the west end of town for about six months, but must move this week to make room for work on the four-laning project. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Craig Lagore and Nicole Salter have lived in their tent shelter off the Trans-Canada Highway at the west end of town for about six months, but must move this week to make room for work on the four-laning project. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

Taking part in the Business Recovery and Expansion Program offered by the Tsuts’weye Women’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Network has been a re-energizing experience for Wildwood Flower Emporium owner Ellen Gonella of Salmon Arm. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Making connections: Salmon Arm business owner re-energized by free local program

Applications being accepted for Business Recovery and Expansion Program

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Unknown Persona (Jacob Chrystal) performs at the Kelowna Community Theatre’s Black Box theatre on Feb. 28, 2021. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
The show must go on: Kelowna musicians take virtual stage to keep playing

Rebellious Unicorns offers local artists the chance to perform live, a rarity amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The humanoid sensing robot has a 3D printed finger cap that measures oxygen levels. (Dr. Woo Soo Kim)
Medical care robots being made with 3D origami in B.C. lab

Would you let a robot take your temperature?

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent must come first and last for B.C. industrial projects

UN declaration seen as end to a history of horror stories

FILE  - In this Friday, Jan 1, 2021 file photo, a lorry driver's documents are scanned on a phone as he passes a checkpoint for the train through the Eurotunnel link with Europe in Folkestone, England. One month after Britain made a New Year split from the European Union's economic embrace, businesses that once traded freely are getting used to frustrating checks, delays and red tape. Meat exporters say shipments have rotted in trucks awaiting European health checks. Scottish fishermen have protested at Parliament over the catch they can no longer sell to the continent because of byzantine new paperwork. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
FINLAYSON: Government should focus on strengthening B.C.’s leading export industries

To revive the economy, this piece in the strategy is integral, writes Jock Finlayson

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ready for use at the vaccination center in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb.28, 2021. (Michael Reichel/dpa via AP)
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

The first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday

Most Read