The temperatures are expected to climb next week, which is good news for the cities homeless shelters.
Tara Tschritter is a coordinator with Kelowna’s Inn From The Cold she says they have been at capacity this whole season, despite the sometimes balmy winter conditions.
“We’ve seen high numbers this year. I think our average has typically been 28 (people), but I would say its closer to 33 or 34 this season,” she says.
“We’re just seeing more and more people coming in to access our service.”
Next year the Inn From The Cold might have to handle even more traffic as a program to help the homeless has lost its funding.
The service is called the Specialized Community Assistance Program (SCAP). Currently the program is run by a local agency called Partners In Resources (PIERS), but funding is not scheduled to be renewed after this spring.
The four-year pilot project was funded by the province through a Federal Labour Market Agreement to assist people experiencing homelessness, and helping them find and maintain housing.
If the program is cut, it’s likely that 2015 will bring an increased strain on the community partners who are actively pursuing an end to homelessness in Kelowna.
“It really concerns me with what it will look like next winter,” says Tschritter.
“If there are 100 people that are housed currently with support, if they lose their support it will really be damaging for our community and the amount of people we’ll see on the street next winter. And we’re already at capacity this winter.”