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

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

Vernon climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside company head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

RCMP look for men who helped in Lake Country jet ski accident

Two men in a boat offered help following a collision about 40-feet from shore Thursday

Armstrong looks for new city hall input

City will send a survey to residents in the fall asking for help on a new facility plan

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Mistake-riddled offence leads to first loss for Okanagan Sun

The Sun lost to the Westshore Rebels 16-13

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Fire departments extinguish suspicious wildfire near West Kelowna

Crews established a fire guard and knocked down the blaze before it grew to one hectare.

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read