Freezing temperatures put pressure on shelters

The cold snap is putting overnight shelters in Kelowna way overcapacity.

Randy Benson, Executive Director of the Kelowna Gospel Mission, says all 90 of their beds are full and they've resorted to placing mats in the dining room.

“We were basically overwhelmed with  the numbers of people that needed the shelter,” he says “So starting last Thursday, we were expecting maybe a dozen people and we had 30 mats go down and it’s been increasing every night since then.”

51 mats were used Monday night.

The 55 beds at Inn from the Cold and Now Canada Society have also been at capacity every night.

“This past year, Inn from the Cold did not shut down for the summer, they continued because the need was there,” Benson says “So when our cold weather hit, they were already open and full, we were full, Now Canada was full, so it just seems like there’s a real increase in numbers this year and that’s what we’re having to deal with.”

Benson says they're working with the City of Kelowna and BC Housing to secure a location for a cold weather shelter, but it’s been a challenge to find a location that’s available.