City of Kelowna preparing to help homeless as winter arrives

City, bylaw ready for cold

Madison Reeve

The City of Kelowna says it is ready to activate its warming buses for those living on the streets if temperatures continue to drop.

Bylaw services manager Kevin Mead says the city has a graduated response to extreme weather.

"When the temperature dips below -10°C, that's when the city will activate its protocol and bring on board some of the warming buses that we have coordinated with local agencies to provide some relief, particularly overnight, for the community sheltering outdoors."

Mead says this year the city has received buses from multiple community partners.

Every year, those living on the streets do what they can to keep warm. Some start fires in tents.

The Kelowna Fire Department has already been called to multiple fires along the rail trail and in and around homeless encampments.

"When it comes to warming fires, we collaborate not only with the fire department but also with the RCMP and the Downtown Kelowna Association to ensure there is a common understanding about what is acceptable and when. We really aim for a humanitarian approach and a graduated response to that as well," Mead said.

The City of Kelowna expects the completion of 120 supportive housing units by January.

"I think that at any time when we can partner with—whether it is BC Housing, a not-for-profit partner, or private interest groups—to provide relief for the community, we ought to do so. From a city perspective, we are making every effort to do that at every juncture," Mead said.

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