With winter weather arriving early, there are currently more people living rough than there are shelter beds in Vernon.
Turning Points Collaborative Society has an 86-bed year-round shelter, but according to executive director Randene Wejr, bylaw has reported that there are at least 100 people sleeping outside in Vernon right now.
“We do not have enough affordable housing, rentals or shelter spaces at this time. I am not aware of any other emergency or temporary spaces other than our 86 bed shelter,” Wejr told The Morning Star.
Turning Points has added a warming bus that operates between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. in the city, which is available for people to warm up, get a hot drink and a snack.
Vernon lacks the temporary shelter spaces that are cropping up across the province. So far this season, the province, through BC Housing, has funded approximately 2,080 temporary winter shelter spaces and more than 480 extreme weather response shelters (spaces that open overnight when a community issues an extreme weather alert, such as during cold temperatures, snow, heavy rain or significant wind).
The ministry says BC Housing will continue to work with shelter providers and municipalities to open additional shelter spaces in communities where there is need. So far this year, Vernon has not seen any support in opening additional temporary shelters.