Kelowna homeless sheltering from wildfire smoke at Gospel Mission

The heavy smoke has prompted the Kelowna Gospel Mission to keep its doors open 24/7 to give homeless people an opportunity to get out of the poor conditions.
Image Credit: Contributed

KELOWNA – The Kelowna Gospel Mission has decided to keep its doors open 24 hours a day until the smoky conditions clear up.

Forest fire smoke from a pair of huge blazes in Washington State has created extremely smoky air in the Okanagan and prompted a special air quality statement from Environment Canada and Interior Health.

The Gospel Mission executive director Randy Benson says most people are able to stay inside with access to air conditioning. Not so for the homeless population.

He says the shelter is experiencing large numbers of people who are having difficulty with sore eyes, headaches and who are having trouble breathing.

“Renovations are underway to expand the shelter and right now space is tight,” Benson says in a media release. “However, we feel the need to give our homeless a place to go 24/7 while the smoke is here and as a result are opening our doors.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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