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Hotel space a challenge as Okanagan Indian Band works to house evacuees

FILE PHOTO: Water is pooled around a property off Westside Road on Okanagan Lake May 24, 2017.
June 06, 2017 - 10:26 AM

VERNON - The Okanagan Indian Band is providing emergency support, including food, lodging and other necessities, to permanent residents affected by flooding.

There are currently 220 properties on evacuation order on the reserve, including a mix of seasonal and permanent residents. The band could not say how many people have been displaced as of Tuesday morning, June 6. 

Emergency Social Services are offering hotel lodging and financial assistance for those staying with family and friends, the band says in a media release.

“Our challenge this past week and with the summer months upon us, is hotel space,” the band says.

The short term assistance is being provided to anyone with proof of permanent address (photo ID) who has been displaced from their home due to a natural disaster that is not covered by homeowner’s insurance, the band says.

Support is being offered in two ways: billeting and hotel lodging.

If you have received an evacuation order and you have been staying with family or friends,assistance is available for your host to help absorb the added costs to their household. Assistance is:

  • $30.00 / night based for a single person occupancy.
  • $10.00 / extra adult or youth
  • $5.00 / child (12 years and under)

“If you have been staying with friends and family and are just finding out about this opportunity this evening, your host does have an opportunity to back date to the date that the evacuation order was issued,” the band says.

Hotel lodging is available to those who have no other alternatives to stay local with friends or family. Group lodging may also be considered as an alternative to hotel lodging, the band says. 

“Keep in mind we are limited by hotel availability and will conduct needs assessments on each family who requests hotel lodging. Priority will be given to elders, families with young children, and persons with health considerations.”

The Province will approve support in short increments and reassess often. Right now, Emergency Social Services is approved to offer billeting to those who qualify until noon on June 13.

“At that time we may ask for an extension but keep in mind the extensions are never a guarantee,” the band says.

As of tomorrow morning, June 7, and for the next two weeks, two ESS representatives will be present in the OKIB Resiliency Centre along with the Canadian Red Cross.

Band evacuees have a designated team and location to register with. The phone number to call is 250-307-1956.

Emergency Social Services is assistance carried out by volunteers within the community, the band says.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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