Kamloops 'nuisance' shelter steps up to support homeless during extreme heat | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops 'nuisance' shelter steps up to support homeless during extreme heat

The Loop resource centre is located at 405 Tranquille Road in Kamloops.

The Loop resource centre on Kamloops’ North Shore has opened as a cooling centre as temperatures climb toward the first heat wave of the summer and the city’s cooling centre isn’t available.

The Loop offers food, company and transportation services to roughly 100 homeless clients and has opened as an emergency warming centre during the winter months. It has also been a point of controversy among some residents and was given "nuisance property" status by community services staff in 2021.

“The cooling centre is rocking and rolling with lots of things to eat and people in the community are dropping off water and juice and all sorts of goodies for us, and the air conditioner is working,” Loop operator Glenn Hilke.

The Sandman Centre concourse located in downtown Kamloops has been chosen by the city as the dedicated cooling centre, but deputy mayor Nancy Bepple said the arena is booked for the next week, just as temperatures are expected to hit 40 C.

If a heat warning is issued the city will instead be offering free swimming at public pools.

Bepple said water parks are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at McArthur Island Park, Riverside Park, Albert McGowan and Westsyde Park along with the wading pool at Prince Charles Park, while drinking fountains are available at public parks, and public washrooms in several different parks are open from 8 a.m. to dusk.

“The city is encouraging residents to check on their neighbours especially if they are older or have pre-existing health conditions. We’re doing community outreach where community service officers will be coordinating heat response efforts for vulnerable citizens with other organizations,” this month's deputy said.

READ MORE: Kamloops homeless day services set to close with no promised replacement

The Loop is in need of more volunteers to help run their cooling centre, which Hilke said will run as long as necessary or when the centre will be forced to close at the end of the month.

“We need volunteers to just be hosts, welcome people and ask if they need anything,” he said. “We’re not cooking to keep the temperature cool, we’re just handing out sandwiches, salads and smoothies.”

So far the city has offered no help.

“The city doesn’t talk to us. If they talk to us, it would mean they acknowledge we exist," Hilke said.

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: Woman stops Kamloops traffic to help senior on stuck mobility scooter

In response to the Loop opening as a cooling centre, Bepple said, “the different service agencies have always been very in touch with the needs of the people they serve.”

As far as the city is concerned, its heat response is activated when Environment and Climate Change Canada issues a heat warning for Kamloops and the criteria for a heat warning involves two consecutive days where the daytime high is 35 Celsius or higher, and the overnight low is 18 C or higher.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 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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