Kelowna homeless shelter running out of time
With just three weeks to go before its closure, a Kelowna homeless shelter is urgently appealing to the public to help find a new location.
“All we need is a temporary location and that’s what we are hoping for, just to get through this toughest time of the year,” Kody Woodmass, the Inn from the Cold’s event and promotions coordinator, said.
Inn from the Cold operates a shelter on Sutherland Avenue, but the building is being demolished as the property is being re-developed.
It means the shelter will close its doors for good on Dec. 31.
Inn from the Cold staff have been looking for a new location for months now but efforts have proved unsuccessful.
More than 40 people sleep at the shelter every night, some of whom will now end up on the streets.
“It’s not easy living on the street, there’s nothing easy about it,” Woodmass said. “I personally am very worried for many of these individuals, individuals who I deeply care about because I built a relationship with them.”
Kelowna mayor Colin Basran said he’s very concerned over losing the Inn from the Cold shelter. He added that plans are being made to protect some of the city’s most vulnerable people during the bitter cold.
“There is work being done with city staff and the provincial government through B.C. Housing to make sure we have the necessary plans in place to make sure that when it gets really cold, people have a place to go to stay warm,” Basran said. “Health and safety is absolutely paramount during the cold winter months because we don’t want people freezing to death.”
On Monday morning, Sun FM radio morning hosts B Mack and Karly kicked off their ‘Cold Weather Clothing Drive’, which will benefit Inn from the Cold and its clients.
“Basically anything warm, snow pants, jackets, toques, gloves, sleeping bags…suitcases, if you have a suitcase. I mean if you are homeless, you only have a few prized possessions and a lot of times they have to use a garbage bag for that so a suitcase, things like that,” Karly said.
The on-air personalities started the clothing drive last year after witnessing some heart-wrenching scenes involving homeless people seeking warmth and safety.
“The idea came about because we work downtown and we wake up at a crazy hour in the morning so some of the things we see on the way to work when most people aren’t up, it’s pretty daunting,” Karly said.
“Literally this morning, there was unfortunately a homeless person sleeping outside our building and this is exactly why we are here,” B Mack added. “It was unreal that this first day of snow and we are starting to get cold, we’re kicking this cold weather clothing drive off and that was a prime example of why we are doing this here today.”
The warm, gently-used clothing can be dropped off at Sun FM headquarters at 435 Bernard Avenue, as well as many other locations around the Central Okanagan.
“We are going to have 20 drop-off locations throughout the city,” Karly said.
You can find them by clicking here.
The clothing drive runs through Feb. 10.
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