Concerns for homeless population arise as cold snap rolls into the Okanagan

Click to play video: 'Blast of winter to batter B.C.'
Blast of winter to batter B.C.
With a fierce blast of winter expected to hit much of B.C. Saturday night, some organizations in the Okanagan are stepping up to help those experiencing homelessness. As Jayden Wasney reports, some parts of the region could see day-time highs as cold as 15 below. – Dec 17, 2022

Frigid temperatures on the way in parts of the Okanagan has service groups in Kelowna concerned about how the cold with affect the city’s homeless population.

“You can see they’re hurt, they’re sick and they’re scared,” said Carmen Rempel, executive director of the Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. “For those who are outside, we’re still providing tents, sleeping bags, little warmers for their hands and of course three meals a day.”

Click to play video: 'Woman suffers second degree burns to her hand while using candles to keep warm in shed structure in Kelowna'
Woman suffers second degree burns to her hand while using candles to keep warm in shed structure in Kelowna

According to Global Meteorologist Yvonne Schalle, an extreme cold front is headed across the province, courtesy of an arctic front that’s making its way in.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re seeing strong outflow winds with chilly temperatures making it even colder, windchills between -10 and -20,” said Schalle.

The freezing temperatures will hold until Friday, with the coldest days being Tuesday through Thursday.

The Kelowna Gospel Mission provides shelter for those in need, but resources are limited.

Outreach teams will be going out on a daily basis during the cold snap, providing basic needs like warm clothing and hot meals.

Rempel, says that while cold snaps aren’t preventable, keeping people off the streets is.

Click to play video: 'Kelowna man collects donations to help feed and clothe homeless'
Kelowna man collects donations to help feed and clothe homeless

She wants to see the City of Kelowna take action, by building more shelters and permanent housing.

Story continues below advertisement

“Cold weather comes every year, and people always ask what can we do about it? We need a diversity of shelters, and we need a diversity of housing options for people who are experiencing homelessness. Thats the answer,” said Rempel.

The City of Kelowna is sending a warming bus to a homeless encampment along the Okanagan Rail Trail during the cold snap.

However, it will only be available from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Sponsored content