The immediate need for more space for homeless people in the winter is being addressed thanks to a Penticton church.
Since the Nov.15 city council meeting discussion regarding emergency weather response in Penticton, staff from B.C. Housing, Compass House and city officials have been working on a plan to keep the shelter open during the winter season.
The Emergency weather response shelter in Penticton will take effect beginning Dec. 1 and will remain in place until March 31, 2017 according to Roger Evans, shelter manager of Compass House. The problem of available space was solved with the church stepping forward to provide an overflow shelter for the homeless who are not able to be accommodated at Compass House due to limited space.
“Anyone who finds themselves in need for of emergency weather response will be registered at Compass House and will receive a hot meal before allocated a bed for the night. Through a temporary occupant load and change of use approval permit provided by the City of Penticton, we are able to allow more people in the shelter to feed them before allocating them a bed for the night at an overflow location,” said Evans.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said he is pleased to see concerns expressed by the public have been addressed. “Having a warm place to stay during the winter season for those most vulnerable is critical and we are thankful B.C. Housing and Compass House have found a solution with the help of others in the community to address a very real social concern,” he said.
In January, the temporary measures and demand for the shelter overflow will be reviewed to determine their operational suitability.