The North Okanagan Friendship Centre’s doors will remain closed for the foreseeable future amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but staff are adapting to maintain programming for its clients. (Contributed)

COVID-19: No guaranteed funding for North Okanagan Friendship Centre

Doors closed to public for foreseeable future, but staff adapting to maintain programming

The North Okanagan Friendship Centre’s doors may be closed for the foreseeable future, but its staff are doing what they can to help.

The federal government announced a $305-million Indigenous Community Support Fund, $15 million of which would be made available to urban organization through an upcoming call for proposals, the society said, but there’s no guarantee of funding and no amount has been set aside specifically for Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations across Canada.

“With the health, safety and well-being of our community members top of our minds, we think it’s important to be clear about the recent federal government supports announced,” the society said in a statement.

“Friendship Centres do not yet have COVID-19 response funds.”

A proposal is in the works by the National Association of Friendship Centres advocating for all centres in Canada, including the North Okanagan Friendship Centre in Vernon.

In the meantime, the society continues its work through phone, fax, text messaging and video conferencing to maintain contact with its clients, staff and board.

The areas of operation include prenatal and nutrition outreach, early childhood development outreach, Vernon youth safe house outreach, mental health and addictions outreach, family support services and First Nations employment services and Kekuli Centre Apartments for youth at risk.

“These are unprecedented times and following safe practices are necessary and mandatory to have a healthy staff who can continue to serve the most vulnerable people in the community,” NOFCS said.

READ MORE: Okanagan College students receive emergency funding

READ MORE: Recovery rate tops 60% but B.C. records death of man in his 40s due to COVID-19


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