Winter shelters at capacity as cold snap hits Okanagan

Shelter manager Roger Evans at the Compass Court emergency winter shelter in Penticton, B.C. Shelby Thom/Global News

With temperatures dipping to -19 C in some areas of the Okanagan Valley, emergency winter shelters are scrambling to get people out of the cold.

The Compass Court winter shelter in Penticton was at capacity Monday night with 29 people seeking shelter.

Overflow accommodation was provided to six people at the already full Compass House run by the Salvation Army on Nanaimo Avenue East.

Shelter manager Roger Evans said they pushed dining and living room furniture aside to make room for six cots. With both shelters at capacity, Evans said they will offer the couch to “bring people in out of the cold.”

WATCH BELOW: Emergency winter shelter in Penticton nearing capacity

Click to play video: 'Emergency winter shelter in Penticton nearing capacity'
Emergency winter shelter in Penticton nearing capacity

At the Kelowna Gospel Mission on Leon Avenue, 87 people sought refuge Monday night–75 men and 12 women—the capacity is 90.

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Executive director Randy Benson said they’re noticing an increase in overnight stays attributable to the cold snap sweeping across the province.

Temperatures dropped to -19 C at the Kelowna airport Tuesday morning, while the Penticton airport recorded a temperature of -17 C and Vernon hit -18 C.

The cold weather is keeping the BC Ambulance Service busy with 115 calls for service so far this year.

Paramedics have been called to 37 cold exposure calls in the Interior Health region, about a third of all calls in the province.

First responders usually attend to people with a decreased level of consciousness or who are in shock, Fatima Siddiqui with the Ambulance Service said.

WATCH: Calls for women’s homeless shelter in Penticton

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Calls for women’s homeless shelter in Penticton

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