Advertisement

City of Kelowna expands emergency warming actions as freezing weather hits B.C.

Click to play video: 'City of Kelowna expands emergency warming actions'
City of Kelowna expands emergency warming actions
WATCH: The extreme cold warning across most of our province has prompted the City of Kelowna to activate additional warming actions for those experiencing homelessness in our city. Jasmine King reports. – Dec 20, 2022

The extreme cold warning across most of British Columbia has prompted the City of Kelowna to activate additional warming actions for those experiencing homelessness in our city.

“We’re very concerned about the well-being of anybody and anyone who is sheltering outdoors in our community,” said Darren Caul, community safety director for the City of Kelowna.

The City of Kelowna and members of the public are stepping up to help unhoused people survive this week’s freezing conditions.

The city has expanded its emergency measures, which includes closely monitoring the homeless population day and night.

“Checking on them, assessing their situation, handing out warming supplies, that’s one of the major things that we’re able to do under these terrible circumstances,” Caul said.

Story continues below advertisement

People sheltering outdoors will be able to drop into warming centres across the city, including at the Parkinson Recreation Centre and the Metro Central Drop-In Centre.

Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.

Get daily National news

Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.
By providing your email address, you have read and agree to Global News' Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

They will also be able to utilize the city’s warming bus for longer.

“We’ve been able to get the bus extended from eight hours a night to 16 hours from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m., from now until this extreme cold snap is over,” said Caul.

For some experiencing homelessness, they are thankful for the increased efforts and resources but still look for their own ways to stay warm.

“Bylaw comes and gives us garbage bags and stuff like that if we need it but, I got my own propane set up, I have power. I prefer to be self-sufficient, I don’t like to sit on a bus doing nothing, right,” said Fernando Verde.

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

An online dashboard was also recently launched to share the availability of shelter spaces in the community. However, those who are unhoused are searching for more permanent solutions.

Story continues below advertisement

“Once you get your (Vulnerability Assessment Tool) done, you’re on a waitlist for housing. I know there are tons of empty apartments and houses out there. I just don’t know why they’re not available,” Verde said.

The city also secured 27 insulated tents but due to travel issues across the country, the tents won’t be in Kelowna until after the cold snap ends.

Sponsored content

AdChoices