October 25, 2014 - 2:25 PM
KAMLOOPS - Homeless people in Kamloops will still have a place to go for a hot meal and a place to sleep on Wednesdays thanks to the Out of the Cold program, but it is unclear at this point if the shelter will be approved as an extreme weather shelter again this year.
Extreme weather shelters usually begin operation Nov. 1, but Sasha Smode of Out of the Cold says they usually know at this point if they will receive funding, but have not heard this year. B.C. Housing says that decision will only be announced later next week.
While the shelter, which is run out of the St. Paul's Cathedral on Nicola Street, still plans on running Wednesdays even that program has been complicated by the fact the program did not receive any grants from the United Way this year.
“We switched from St. Vincent de Paul to St. Paul’s Cathedral running the program,” Smode explains. “With the transition we missed the deadline to apply for funding, because it was still up in the air who would take on the program.”
She says they will continue to do fundraisers and ask for donations to help run the weekly program.
“It’s even more important this year,” she says. “We want to be able to provide stability at least on day a week… that hot meal, breakfast.”
The program opens doors on Nov. 5 and will once again be offering 28 co-ed, overnight spaces through the spring. Smode hopes they can get even more volunteers out to help run the program in the absence of funding.
“We’re volunteers, we do this because we care about the people,” she says. “This isn’t a game, this is peoples lives, and we’re accountable. We’ll continue with Wednesdays and help who we can.”
Emerald House and Emerald Hostel continue to offer a total of 35 year-round spaces between the two shelters, though the majority of those spaces are in a men’s only shelter. It is unknown at this point if these shelters will be appointed as the extreme weather shelters for Kamloops this winter.
Last year Out of the Cold offered a warm place to sleep whenever temperatures dropped below -7 Celsius.
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