City of Kelowna acquires insulated shelters for those living on the streets

New way to stay warm

Madison Erhardt

The City of Kelowna is bringing in a new way for homeless people to keep warm.

Kelowna has acquired 27 insulated shelters made of light-weight foam as part of a pilot project this winter.

"The shelters have the potential to increase the inside temperature between 15 and 18 degrees," said community safety services manager Colleen Cornock.

The city sourced 20 one-person and seven two-person shelters from a manufacturer in Europe.

The shelters will be setup along the Rail Trail off Richter Street, the city's designated camping location for homeless residents.

"Setup is on the responsibility of who they are issued to, so we will be going through a similar situation with folks who are residing outside on how to set them up — whole instruction of care — then they will be distributed from there," Cornock added.

Kelowna is one of two cities in Canada to be using the shelters, which cost between $500 and $700.

The timing of distribution will depend on the weather as the thermal shelters will be made available during periods of exceptionally cold weather.

"They’re durable, easy to assemble and, while they’re not a solution to homelessness, they’re going to help a lot of Kelowna residents who are sheltering outside," Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas said.

Those using a shelter must agree to return the shelter once weather improves.

City employees will monitor and assess the initiative as it is introduced.

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