Reaching out to Okanagan homeless veterans

VETS Canada creating network across Okanagan Valley

Roger Powley is building a volunteer network across the Okanagan Valley to help military veterans in crisis.

Powley is one of three volunteers in Kelowna along with one each in Kamloops and Vernon establishes so far to help bring support and awareness to homelessness among veterans.

His hope is to establish a VETS (Veterans Emergency Transition Services) Canada assistance network extending from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos.

An event on Saturday, the third annual Vets Canada Coast to Coast Tour of Duty walk will take place in 21 cities across the country, including Kelowna for the first time, to help further that cause.

Powley, who served in the Canadian army for 27 years, is one of 400 volunteers in 22 Canadian cities volunteering for VETS Canada.

He said their efforts this past year helped one 84-year-old vet of the Korean War who was living out of his car find residence in a seniors’ home, and help ‘clean up’ another 42-year-old man who had served three tours of duty in Afghanistan but was left suffering from mental health and addiction issues.

Powley says the Gospel Mission in Kelowna reports they see anywhere from four to 10 veterans at the homeless shelter each year.

He cited a study commissioned by the federal government in 2016 based on surveys of more than 60 homeless shelters across Canada that more than 2,700 veterans are either homeless or reliant on shelters.

This past year, the agency has received 2,000 requests for help from individuals.

“It’s a major issue in our country but one that is not well advertised. Beyond trying to help our vets, we do this walk and part of our mandate is to raise that level of awareness,” Powley said.

“We are a non political organization and we work with private funding supporters and other agencies to provide help.”

Powley noted the support of Value Village, which provides kitchen, bathroom and other living supplies for homeless vets who are set up in permanent residences after being discovered to be homeless and often without any extended family support.

Powley said the local Legions in both Kelowna and Penticton have been supportive of the local VETS Canada efforts through donations generated from the poppy sale campaign.

For more information on how to volunteer, check out the website www.vetscanada.org.

The Kelowna walk will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday from the tennis courts in City Park and the procession will head down Leon Avenue with the goal to visit four different homeless shelters during the two-hour event.

For more

Just Posted

Bike safety schooled for Vernon kids

Regional District of North Okanagan gave students a refresher at bike rodeo

Monty Python’s Spamalot set for Vernon stage

Big Apple Productions raises silliness to an art form

Vernon RCMP ready to arrest, for kids

Suspects sought for North Okanagan Jail & Bail Thursday, May 30

More classrooms on the way for Vernon students

Minister of Education announces 240-seat expansion at BX Elementary

Grammatically incorrect tagging strikes Vernon bylaw office

Anti-tag team will begin working next week to target such vandalism

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

PPC leader wants to appeal to voters’ intelligence

Maxine Bernier says his right-wing populist political movement differs from that of U.S. President Donald Trump and other similar European leaders

Sit-in on Saturday will protest move to curb loitering in Penticton’s downtown

Nanaimo Square Sit-In is taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friend of accused Kelowna murderer takes the stand

Elrich Dyck’s testimony continued Friday with details from the night Chris Ausman was killed

Crews respond to smoke at Penticton thrift store

The rooftop A/C unit began filling the building with smoke, prompting them to evacuate

Housing provided for women and children fleeing violence in Penticton

Announcement on Friday is part of a provincewide initiative to construct additional housing.

People’s Party of Canada leader talks B.C. trade to Penticton supporters

Maxime Bernier, head of the new federal political party, spoke at Time Winery on Friday

Princeton RCMP recover stolen homework and save the grade

It’s a slightly better excuse than “the dog ate my homework.” Earlier… Continue reading

New Summerland distillery has received recognition

Alchemist Distiller won audience choice award at recent competition

Most Read