Vernon shelters are already at capacity, well before winter

No room at the shelter

It's not even winter yet, but shelters in Vernon are already operating at capacity.

In fact, people are being turned away.

Randene Wejr, co-executive director of Turning Points Collaborative Society which operates the shelters, said in one week, there were 75 instances where someone had to be denied access.

That does not mean 75 people had to spend the night in the cold, as the same people could have been turned away multiple times.

The recent cold snap has made a warm bed even more of a necessity, and the really cold months haven't even arrived yet.

“The shelters have been full for a while. We haven't seen a dramatic increase because of the cold weather because we have already been doing turn-aways. It really started in August, which is a surprise to us. It started early,” said Wejr. “I think people are just coming in earlier because we don't see as many campers either.”

There will be 20 temporary winter shelter beds opening up in the downtown core before the cold weather hits.

But a warm place to sleep is not all that is needed.

Wejr said there is a need for warm-weather items like blankets, warm clothing, scarfs, socks, mittens and other items.

“All of those items are needed every year at this time,” said Wejr, adding items can be dropped off at 102-3301 24 Ave.

Results of the bi-annual homeless count is expected to be made public next week.

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