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Church open to evacuees

Cheers the Church will be open nights for a two week period to provide temporary housing to the people being evacuated from the Three Gables building in Penticton.

Linda Sankey, executive director for the South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society, said BC Housing has committed to providing funding for that period.

"I am thrilled about this because it provides an opportunity for people to have a safe place to stay," she said.

The church on Main Street is just an interim solution, while the society's outreach worker works with tenants.

This option is only for tenants of the Three Gables.

The church is open as of this afternoon, Friday, and will provide a light dinner, overnight stay and breakfast during the two weeks.

Several residents were moving out of the Martin Street building on Friday. Some were getting help from friends or family members or just leaving the building with their belongings on their own.

A moving company also arrived on scene to load up belongings and put them in temporary storage.

A few of the displaced tenants said they were not getting any of their rent or deposit money back.

"They owe me a month's rent for living in a condemned building," said a young woman named Dare. "I want it back, and I hear others aren't getting anything either."

 A 48 hour evacuation order was given Wednesday afternoon by Penticton fire officials, after the BC Fire Commissioner ordered the evacuation of the building for public safety reasons.

Raj Singh, a friend of the building's owner, said they were dealing with securing the building on Friday and going on from there.

He said the owner will issue more of a statement at a later date.

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