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Kelowna emergency shelter cannot accommodate increased demand, people sleep outside

Kelowna Gospel Mission does not have enough beds for Kelowna homeless and flood evacuees
Tent in the snow along Rail Trail, Kelowna (Jacqueline Gelineau/Capital News)

Extreme weather that brought flooding water to the B.C. Interior, is now causing issues for area residents as temperatures begin to tip and snow starts to fall.

For those experiencing homelessness the situation is even more dire. Kelowna Gospel Mission does not have enough emergency shelter beds to accommodate the increased demand due to the dramatic change in weather.

“We do have a shortage of emergency shelter beds, especially with what is going on in Merritt,” says Sonja Menyes from the Kelowna Gospel Mission.

Those displaced by flooding in the Merritt are seeking shelter in Kelowna, but there is not enough availability.

“We need more emergency shelter beds,” says Menyes. “There are still people left outside.”

Menyes expects all shelter beds to be full Monday night (Dec. 6).

Monday morning, the Gospel Mission outreach team identified 17 people sleeping outside in various places around Kelowna. The Gospel Mission outreach team is working on the streets of Kelowna seven days a week, 13 hours a day to provide Kelowna’s vulnerable populations with food, hot drinks, clothing, blankets, and other necessities.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Gospel Mission in need of blankets, winter clothing

“There are really no warm-up spots in Kelowna,” says Menyes. People without homes have limited options for shelter during the day, even during snowstorms.

READ MORE: Disaster expert urges those affected by B.C. flooding to take care of mental health

Menyes asks Kelowna to have grace for people that are experiencing homelessness.

People looking to help those without lodging can check out for information on how to volunteer and donate.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Gospel Mission opens new thrift store on the Westside


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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

I'm a reporter in the beginning stages of my career. I joined the team at Capital News in November 2021...
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