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Two Okanagan homeless shelters evacuated due to wildfires

Vernon, Penticton support homeless displaced in Kelowna, West Kelowna

The Okanagan has banded together to support the most vulnerable population evacuated by wildfires.

Late last week Turning Points Collaborative Society made the crucial decision to evacuate clients from both the Bartley Road Shelter in West Kelowna and the Richter Street Shelter in Kelowna.

The emergency response plan has provided some evacuated clients with space in shelter and motel units in Vernon. While clients, and Turning Points support staff, have been welcomed in Penticton by Ask Wellness and Penticton and District Society for Community Living.

Support to any remaining unsheltered individuals in Kelowna provided at Metro Community from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We have been so heartened by the collaboration and dedication of service providers throughout the Okanagan to respond to this crisis,” said Laurie Case, Turning Points executive director of communications. “Thank you to the firefighters, first responders, service providers, and our own amazing staff for taking care of all of us, including the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Recognizing the reduced service capacity due to staff evacuations and other wildfire-related disruptions, Turning Points’ primary goal is to assist unhoused community members who wish to return to their home communities and natural supports.

The initiative is designed to assist anyone currently without housing and seeking Turning Point services.

“As the term suggests, our intention is to alleviate the pressure on our frontline services. Instead of individuals relying solely on shelters, if they have the means to return home, we will provide comprehensive support to make this a reality, guiding them through every step of the process,” Turning Points sad.

“Shelter diversion has been a successful program in Turning Points’ continuum of care for the past two years. We are collaboratively responding to this crisis alongside our community partners by launching the community shelter diversion program at Metro Community, and we hope it can remain a useful process well-beyond this current crisis.”

READ MORE: Okanagan wildfires: What you need to know

READ MORE: West Kelowna homeless shelter evacuation sends vulnerable clients to Kelowna, Vernon


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

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