The Seventh Day Adventist Church is currently the site of an extreme weather response shelter in Penticton due to the cold temperatures. (Google Streetview)

Penticton quietly opens and closes extreme weather shelter

The church location was open for three nights

The emergency winter shelter that opened quietly over the weekend in Penticton closed just five days later.

Opening without fanfare or any formal public announcement at all, the shelter had been located at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Warren Avenue West.

BC Housing had listed the shelter and its 30 beds on its website, as an extreme weather response shelter, which open overnight during extreme cold temperatures and/or heavy snowfall.

The listing was added at some point on Nov. 10, after the provincial government announced other emergency shelters open across the province on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Now that the nights have warmed up to above freezing, the shelter closed on Sunday.

When queried, the city of Penticton pointed to 100 More Homes Penticton who are in charge through BC Housing to organize shelters locally.

There was no formal announcement about an extreme weather shelter opening. Meanwhile, temperatures at night have been ranging between -5 C and -12 C not factoring in windchill for the week from Nov. 6 to 12.

READ MORE: ‘We are tired of the futility’: Okanagan shelters call for changes to homelessness response

The Compass Court shelter on Main Street in Penticton is also still operating and is year-round.

Last week, a letter signed by numerous shelter providers in the Okanagan, including both Penticton organizations, said shelters are a failing system that has become a dangerous place for both staff and shelter users.

They say the cycle of bringing people in from the cold and providing them with the barest of supports, and then kicking them back to the streets in the spring has become “an exercise in futility at best.”

“Our shelters have become a place where people languish because there has been no investment in programs, health, skills, wellness planning, and second-stage housing,” the letter states.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

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