Penticton opens up extra cold weather shelter at night for those in need, but it is overflowing and only open at night

Few places to go in the cold

The icy weather in the Okanagan prompted the Penticton and District Society for Community Living (PDSCL) to open up a temporary emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness to keep warm, but it is only open at night and is already overflowing.

The Church of Nazarene on Jermyn Avenue is being used as an extreme weather response shelter to bring people in from the frigid temperature.

“For this cold snap, we have 10 to 20 beds or so set up at the Church of Nazarene,” Tony Laing, the CEO of PDSCL said adding that it was in response to temperatures dipping below -10 C at night.

The organization also runs the Compass Court and Victory Church shelters.

PDSCL is working in partnership with the Penticton Friendship Centre and BC housing is providing funding for the shelter.

“It's open only in the evening, we open up and bring people in when staff are ready, sometime after 7 p.m. and we usually have everybody out by 10 a.m. in the morning….It's currently full, we ran out of beds last night and people were just standing inside staying warm.”

Currently, there's no place for those seeking shelter from the frigid temperatures to go during the day. The victory church centre shelter is also currently full.

“This was the only place out of all of the churches and such that we looked for, this was the only place that allowed us to set up. It's not the best location but the facility itself is adequate, although it is getting full,” Laing explained. “Normally we wouldn't have Victory or Church of Nazarene, we could operate all out of Compass. But we couldn't expand in Compass this year because we had to spread people out.”

“But there were no other choices in town for us. We would've preferred to be somewhere away from the schools and such, but there just wasn't anything available...We're here because of COVID and the needs of the homeless.”

Right now, blankets, coats, hats, gloves are in need. Victory Church and the Legion are currently accepting donations.

“Donations are a big help right now, there are still people that have shelter at night, but no place to go to get warm in the daytime so extra blankets and coats, those types of things will be appreciated by everyone.”

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