City of Kelowna doing what it can to keep homeless people warm | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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City of Kelowna doing what it can to keep homeless people warm

This warming shelter was set up yesterday in the homeless campground in Kelowna's northend. Around a dozen people spent the night in the tent and are pictured waking up Friday, Nov. 29, 2019.
November 29, 2019 - 9:53 AM

A warming shelter has been set up by the City in the ball diamond where homeless people are camping in Kelowna’s northend.

At 7:45 a.m. today, Nov. 29, there were about a dozen people inside, some just waking up. No one wanted to talk to iNFOnews.ca but they said they were allowed to sleep inside. The shelter is about seven metres square with propane heaters.

"When we get an emergency situation - which this period of three or four days of cold temperature is - then you do what’s necessary to protect people’s health," Darren Caul, the city's community safety director told iNFOnews.ca.

The warming shelter will only be in place for a few days while it stays cold. Caul said it was -14 C with the wind chill last night.

There were about a dozen tents set up outside, on the infield of the baseball diamond behind the Kelowna Curling Club. Some seemed to be occupied. When the camp was set up on Tuesday, there were 22 tents.

"While there is a reduction in the number of tents, the number of people doesn't seem to be going down," Caul said, estimating there are 45 to 50 people camping out.

The City has also provided some transportation to Kelowna's Gospel Mission and the Metro in the morning, which serve as warming shelters. That will only be done while it stays cold.

Campers are required to pack up their tents every morning and can’t set up again until 7 p.m. The first day it took until early afternoon for everyone to pack up but they are working slowly to the target of 9 a.m.

Caul also said he's hoping to have news very soon about a "more substantive solution."

The warming tent did spark some outrage on social media. Northend residents are holding a neighbourhood meeting on Saturday. They are upset about not being consulted before the City offered two camping areas for the homeless who had been camping out on Leon Avenue.

No one set up camp at the second site the City has offered at the foot of Knox Mountain.

A warming shelter near the Kelowna Curling Club, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019.
A warming shelter near the Kelowna Curling Club, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019.

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