Kelowna seeking grant to assist homeless during cold weather events

City seeks provincial grant

The City of Kelowna is looking to take advantage of grant opportunities from the province to map, assess and plan for the risks associated with extreme temperatures.

The funds are part of a wide ranging series of grants available through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund.

The intent, says city staff is to help insure communities have "accurate knowledge of risks associated with extreme temperatures, how the risks can change over time and to develop effective response plans and strategies to prepare, mitigate and adapt to those risks."

The city, with council approval, will apply for funding to support its extreme cold weather support program for those sleeping rough.

According to the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society more than 200 people are expected to be sleeping outside in Kelowna next winter, putting them at risk of frostbite, hypothermia and exacerbated mental health concerns.

"Mobilizing extreme weather cold response plans can reduce those risks," a staff report suggests.

"Through this grant funding, the city intends to complete an asset and resources system map and a subsequent response plan.

"The systems map will include a vulnerable population assessment, identify existing supports and resources available to our community and demonstrate any gaps that may exist."

The city expects to use the findings to develop a response plan that includes co-ordinating and maximizing local resources and building capacity in community organizations to fill unmet needs during extreme cold weather.

"This project will be completed in collaboration with local community organizations, Indigenous knowledge holders, people with lived experience and other partners and organizations that support people sheltering outdoors."

This past winter, the city rolled out warming buses and purchased insulated shelters to help those sheltering outside during extreme cold weather events.

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