Cold snap highlights need for warming stations in Kamloops - InfoNews

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Cold snap highlights need for warming stations in Kamloops

Kamloops Ask Wellness Society Executive Director Bob Hughes says this week's cold snap has identified a need for homeless warming stations in the city.
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January 14, 2020 - 6:30 PM

This week’s sudden deep freeze in Kamloops has revealed a need for 'warming stations’ for the homeless, says a local non-profit.

Ask Wellness Society Executive Director Bob Hughes says the cold weather this week is unique in the last five years or so.

"We get winters, but we don’t often get stretches where if you were outside for more than an hour you have the potential for freezing or getting serious frostbite,” Hughes says. “The notion of warming stations is something we need to talk about across the interior. B.C. Housing has been working well with local non-profits but where people go during the day or night when shelters are full, we don’t have a clear mandate who is responsible for this.”

Hughes says in Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby and Nanaimo, warming stations are set up for the municipality to manage.

“We don’t have clarity in the interior who is going to look after those spaces. It’s a gap that has been identified by this week’s weather,” he says. “In Kamloops, we’ve led the charge with opening up warming stations in some of our buildings. We’ve done that in Merritt and in Penticton last night. It’s a response to a tremendous cold snap, but it speaks to the resolve of the community to provide that most basic of safety mechanisms, that you have a place to go and a place to come and be warm so you don’t freeze to death,” Hughes says.


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