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Penticton shelter busy during cold snap

Penticton's Cold Snap Inn has seen a steady stream of people come through its doors, due to the recent cold weather.

Operators estimate as many as 50 have been served at the extreme weather shelter at Cheers the Church, since they opened for the season. 

"Last year we were only open two nights during the entire season," said Dennis Cyr, the pastor at Cheers. "But this year is unusual with the cold temperatures."

The shelter officially opened for four days in November and was open again from Dec. 2 to 11.

It was slow at the start, but it built up in December as word got out the shelter was up and running.

The most who have stayed overnight at one time this year is 9. Those seeking a roof over their heads are mostly men over age 30, but some women have come to stay as well.

Cyr says they would never turn anyone away.

"We don't screen them, we are just here to help," he said. "And say there was a house that burned down or some other emergency, then we would accommodate families as well."

When the temperature hits -10 C, Reg Petrie, the supervisor at Compass House, which provides transitional housing, issues an extreme weather alert.

Information it is open, is then posted at the Soupateria, which provides meals daily in the city to those in need.

The RCMP and service providers who work with the homeless are also informed the shelter is open.

The shelter is open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and provides 20 cots for men and women to sleep on, in separate rooms. Dinner and breakfast are offered, as  well as clothing and a place to shower.

With the current warm up,  it is now closed, but will open again when the temperatures drop.

The typical Cold Snap Inn season is from November to March.

To find out how you can help out the Cheers Centre click here.

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