The Loop opens in Kamloops to protest homeless shelter delay | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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The Loop opens in Kamloops to protest homeless shelter delay

Volunteers from The Loop handed out warm clothes for homeless people in front of Kamloops city hall as the first snow of the season arrived, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.

A Kamloops outreach organization opened its doors to the homeless last night, despite the building's ongoing status as a nuisance property.

The Loop is the only overnight shelter on the North Shore. It's also the only additional emergency shelter as the City's two planned facilities remain unopened.

Glenn Hilke, who operates The Loop at 405A Tranquille Rd., grew increasingly frustrated by the lack of available shelter space and said the organization decided it needed to step up as winter set in.

Hilke called on city council to make winter shelters their "number one priority," at the inaugural meeting on Nov. 1, the same day the city's two winter shelters were expected to open.

So far, there's been no announcement of a shelter operator in Kamloops, despite the City having two locations already prepared to open.

Volunteers from The Loop were in front of city hall on yesterday afternoon, Nov. 3, to hand out warm clothes, food and coffee to people spending the night outside.

"Sleeping outside in subzero temperatures is dangerous and nobody's doing anything, so we're going to do something," volunteer Mick Sandy said.

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: Kamloops homeless advocate demands shelters at inaugural council meeting

Two homeless men spoke to iNFOnews.ca in front of city hall yesterday, where they picked up jackets and food from volunteers.

"I'm an outdoor cat," a man who goes by the name Traveler replied when asked whether he's staying at any local shelter.

Originally from Winnipeg, he said he can handle the cold most nights and he prefers to stay away from shelters.

The Loop opened as an emergency winter shelter in Kamloops after its volunteers handed out warm clothes and food to the homeless on Nov. 3, 2022.
The Loop opened as an emergency winter shelter in Kamloops after its volunteers handed out warm clothes and food to the homeless on Nov. 3, 2022.

Another man calling himself Chili said he's been on the streets for about four years. He sets up camp near the river where he spends most of his time alone, reading books in his off time.

Both of them have their limit, however, when the winter gets too cold even seasoned outdoor sleepers need to find shelter.

Last night, they were prepared for the cold, even as the first snowfall arrived in Kamloops.

Hilke said around 25 people showed up for shelter, and the facility had a visit from Kamloops RCMP and its new mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson. The shelter-seekers ranged in age from 19 to 79.

"All shelters were completely full and we received calls from Mustard Seed and the (Canadian Mental Health Association) requesting assistance to accommodate and transport the overflow," Hilke said in a written message this morning.

The Loop has been deemed a "nuisance property" by the City and it's not permitted to open as an overnight shelter. This was also the case last winter, but its doors were opened during a cold snap that at the end of December and into January.

Hilke couldn't say how long The Loop would continue its shelter operations but he said it is not getting any funding to keep its doors open and is run primarily by volunteers.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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