Calls for women’s homeless shelter in Penticton

A south Okanagan homeless woman is calling on the provincial government to fund a women’s homeless shelter in the City of Penticton.

Sandra Hall, 49, has been living on the streets of Penticton since March.

She’s seeking a reprieve from the cold by staying at the emergency winter shelter in the former Super 8 motel on Main Street but she says there needs to be more shelter options for women in the south Okanagan.

“We need housing for women, we need housing for women that is low-barrier,” she said.

READ MORE: City in crisis: Homelessness and drug use on the streets of Penticton

Twenty beds at the emergency winter shelter are reserved for men and seven for women. All of the female beds are full.

Meanwhile, at the Compass House emergency shelter on Nanaimo Avenue East, twelve beds are reserved for men and four for women.

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Shelter manager John Edwards says the female beds have been occupied for months, adding the housing affordability crisis is pushing more people into precarious living situations.

Edwards says people are supposed to stay at the shelter for a maximum of thirty days but some have been living there for months.

READ MORE: Penticton motel being converted to shelter and transitional housing

He said despite the shelter operating at capacity for women, no one will be turned away.

“We will open up the dining area and the living room and put them in the living room so they are not out in the cold,” he said.

The two emergency shelters are operated by the Salvation Army and funded by BC Housing.

In a statement to Global Okanagan News, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing says there are no plans to open a women’s only shelter in Penticton.

“Compass House will not turn away anyone in need of shelter – additional mats will be provided at the Compass House shelter if necessary,” said ministry media relations.

WATCH: Emergency winter shelter in Penticton nearing capacity 



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