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The homeless and their homeless pets

Everyday people use the Kelowna Gospel Mission's services, but many choose not to stay overnight because there is no where for their travelling companion, man's best friend.

In an effort to minimize barriers to safe shelter, Kelowna's Gostpel Mission is offering a place for pets of clients to stay. 

Being homeless is not new to Tyler Sheriff, he says the Mission is doing the right thing and it will meet the needs of many people.

"That's a good idea because a lot of people will stay outside because their animal has to stay outside. They won't give up on them because it is someone they're taking care of."

Sheriff's cart was loaded with everything he owned form extra clothes to a bag of apples, things he could not afford to lose. The Mission has also created a secure storage area for packs, bikes and belongings. 

"Having a place to lock your stuff is really important."

In a partnership with the SPCA, the Gospel Mission has created an area called K9 Korner, a place that keeps pets safe and warm while their owners are seeking the Mission's services.

Nigel Chouinard is bundled up for the colder weather, he gave up his dogs because of the night time issue. 

"I think it's a great idea. I'd have my pets with me if I had some place to take them at night."

Mission Executive Director, Randy Benson says, just as pets provide comfort and companionship to families and those who are housed, this may be more so for people on the street facing challenges and troubled times.

"Too often people judge the homeless by saying because they are homeless they have no right to have a pet. It's more complex than that. These are issues that deal with emotions and relationships. No one likes to be alone."

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