The Church of Nazarene has opened as an extreme weather response shelter in Penticton to bring people experiencing homelessness in from the frigid cold temperatures soon to hit the Okanagan.
The temperature is supposed to dip down to -18 C on Wednesday night with most nights hovering below -12 C.
“We have been funded to provide an Extreme Weather Response Shelter. The shelter opens when cold temperatures, or a combination of cold and precipitation put the homeless at extreme risk,” said Tony Laing, CEO of Penticton and District Society for Community Living (PDSCL) that runs the Compass Court and Victory Church shelters.
The PDSCL and Friendship Centre jointly manage and staff the shelter at Church of the Nazarene during these cold snaps. The RCMP and various other groups are officially notified when the shelter is designated to open.
The Victory Church shelter has 42 winter shelter beds which are usually full, said Laing.
“Church of the Nazarene can accommodate 15 to 20 more individuals. So far, this has been adequate,” he added.
Church of the Nazarene, located on Jermyn Ave., is the only space PDSCL could find, he said.
“But it is only open at night. There is nowhere for the homeless to warm up during the day,” said Laing.
According to 100 Homes Penticton, since 2016 over 350 people have secured housing and support through providers in the city, yet there are still over 100 people un-housed and over 140 on the supportive housing registry.