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Annual campout took in $118,000 for under construction supportive housing

The campout took place on Dec. 9, featuring 40 campers in McDonald Park and another 40 online
Campout to End Youth Homelessness
A photo from last year's campout, where twelve people slept outside Gateway City Church in Valleyview.

A Way Home Kamloops' (AWHK) sixth annual Campout To End Youth Homelessness came up short of its goal, but raised more than $110,000 for youth in need.

The non-profit brought in $118,613 of its $150,000 to put towards paying for wraparound supports at the soon-to-be-constructed Katherine's Place — a 39-unit housing complex set to rise at 560 and 562 Tranquille Rd.

"Although it is less then our goal, we are so appreciative of all community members who made this happen," the non-profit said in a press release. "A Way Home Kamloops would like to thank our generous campout champions, Enbridge and RBC Foundation who together help launch the campaign with combined total of $25,000."

The campout took place back on Dec. 9, 2022 with about 40 people attending McDonald Park and another 40 registered to camp virtually over Zoom.

"We were very excited to see people in person after two years of online only events, and it was great to spend some time together and share the experience of braving the elements, the organization said in a release.

Camper Lindsay Supeene said the weather for the campout was "favourable" and her team came prepared with tents, tarps, lots of blankets and multiple layers of clothing.

"There wasn't a point that I was cold or uncomfortable, in multiple ways it was a luxurious experience," she said in the release. "With our gear from home, we were welcomed by AWHK staff, there were snacks, little fire pits, a medical aid on site, a warming station and security. Homeless youth do not have all of the items we had at the campout. A lot of youth do not have the sense of security I felt while at the event. It resonated with me that my experience, in the cold isn't a clear picture of what our youth in Kamloops are experiencing. They are faced with drastic changes in weather,

frightening, isolating and dangerous situations on a daily basis. So next year I will likely not bring as many blankets, or my heated socks. I will choose a cardboard box supplied by the event over my luxurious tent."

Katherine's Place will be low-barrier housing for youth ages 16 to 26, with bachelors and one bedroom units. AWHK and BC Housing, held a ground breaking ceremony at the site. Construction is expected to begin sometime this spring and take about 15 months to complete, the organization said in its release.