More people expected to be sheltering outdoors this winter

Unsheltered numbers grow

The City of Kelowna is looking to identify what resources are available to assist the unsheltered in the event of an extreme cold weather event this winter.

It's looking to the provincial government to assist through a $30,000 grant the city is hoping to attain.

The project comes as the numbers of those living rough are expected to climb.

"What we do know from all indications is the issue of folks that might be sheltered outside this winter is projected to grow from what it was last year," risk manager Lance Kayfish told city council Monday.

"I can share that there were significant challenges ensuring that people kept warm enough to be safe last year so we anticipate the response is going to have to be bigger this year.."

The city utilized warming buses and acquired more than two dozen warming tents to help those outdoors when temperatures plummeted below -20C.

Grants and special projects coordinator Michelle Kam says the city intends to use the funds to conduct an asset and resource systems 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," said Kam.

"The response plan will include co-ordinating community resources and building capacity in community organizations to fill unmet needs during extreme cold weather."

The city, says Kayfish, will put together data very specific to circumstances around cold weather events.

"This is more specific to try and identify what all the available resources in the community are that can be activated to mitigate the impact of extreme cold weather on folks sheltering outside," said Kayfish.

"Being very specific where those resources are a how to quickly activate them in a time of crisis."

More Kelowna News