October 29, 2015 - 4:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Anyone needing a warm place to sleep during extreme weather nights this winter will not be turned away from the Emerald House Emergency Shelter.
The shelter, which has a divided space for both men and women, is run by the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Kamloops chapter downtown, is the designated extreme weather emergency shelter in Kamloops.
“They’re taking entire responsibility for it, as far as I know,” ASK Wellness director Bob Hughes says. "They will be taking on whole responsibility for the emergency shelter and extreme weather response."
Last year Emerald House and Out of the Cold both offered their locations for people who needed a place to sleep on the colder winter nights. While the services were accepted, there was limit on capacity which was often met.
"Last year (ASK) opened up one of its buildings as a last resort. What was happening was Out of the Cold was reaching a point of maximum capacity,” he says. “You can’t have a limit on how many people because in the end that defeats the purpose."
This year starting, Nov. 1, Out of the Cold will have beds, food and activities available on Wednesday nights. Volunteer coordinator Christine Jeffrey says doors will open at 7 p.m. and visitors can access the services until 8 a.m.
Extreme weather days will be announced and managed by staff at the Emerald House. There are plans to make sure specific agencies are aware of the condition and that anyone can have a place to stay. Hughes says with recent legislation, RCMP members can help bring those in need to the Emerald House.
"As long as that message is consistent and in practice no matter what. That’s the best we can possibly do,” he says.
The Emerald House Emergency Shelter is located at 271 Victoria Street West. Out of the Cold is located at St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral at 360 Nicola St.
-This story was corrected at 5:23 p.m., October 29, 2015. An earlier version stated the Emerald Centre was located on Battle Street. In fact, it's located on Victoria Street West.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015