Five more beds have been added to the emergency winter shelter program in Vernon boosting its accommodation ability to serve 25 experiencing homelessness.
Every night, since the start of the latest winter storm, shelter staff have had to turn away between five and six people.
“It’s not that we are seeing an increase in our community of people experiencing homelessness, it is just that many people who have been sleeping rough are now looking to come in from the cold,” Gateway and temporary winter shelters manager Lisa Church said.
“By expanding the temporary winter shelter program, we hope to accommodate the individuals wanting to come in from the cold.”
The program, run by Turning Points Collaborative Society, began in November and despite efforts to get people indoors during the colder months, on any given night there are still more than a dozen people sleeping rough in Vernon, according to the organization.
Turning Points operates two shelters and one temporary winter shelter, supported with funding from BC Housing. Altogether, they provide 111 — with the addition of the five beds — experiencing homelessness with accommodations each night.
The extra beds will remain open at the winter shelter as needed and the shelter will be in operation until approximately the end of March.