An extreme weather shelter will be available on the North Shore as of Dec. 14.
The 30-bed shelter will open from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. when the temperature dips to -10 C or belt and/or there is an accumulation of at least five centimetres of snow with a temperature of -10 C or colder.
The shelter will be located in the Kamloops Alliance Church at the north end of Overlanders Bridge and will be operated by The Mustard Seed Kamloops, in partnership with BC Housing. It will operate through Feb. 28.
“The Mustard Seed is thrilled to partner with Kamloops Alliance Church,” said Kelly Thomson, The Mustard Seed’s managing director. “It’s wonderful to see the faith community stepping in to help address the needs of those experiencing homelessness in our city in inclement weather. With the support and funding of BC Housing, we are able to provide up to another 30 beds for those in need.”
Chris Throness, lead pastor at Kamloops Alliance Church, said the church wanted to help care for those who are the most vulnerable in the city.
“Opening our doors for this emergency weather shelter is a practical step we can take, to share what we have been given with those who need it the most,” Throness said. “It is a privilege to be able to play a part and our desire is to continue to invest in the future health and vitality of Kamloops.”
Extreme weather response shelters typically open on nights when the temperature is forecast to drop below a predetermined threshold or when the forecast calls for inclement winter weather conditions. During those conditions, community service providers, shelter operators and street outreach teams co-ordinate efforts to bring unsheltered individuals indoors, a staff report to city council stated.
An emergency weather shelter is something the municipality had been requesting BC Housing add in the city as winter weather conditions take hold.
“We’re pushing BC Housing with regard to extreme weather response,” said Byron McCorkell, the city’s community and protective services director.
At present, there are two temporary winter shelters operating daily in Kamloops. One is at the Yacht Club east of downtown and operated by The Mustard Seed. The second one is in the former Stuart Wood elementary building downtown and operated by the Out of the Cold organization. Both are operated in partnership with BC Housing every night until March 31, 2023 from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.