The earlier than normal start to winter has led to increased demand for Vernon’s shelters.
Kelly Fehr, co-executive director of the local John Howard Society says the Gateway and Howard House shelters have been full, and the 23 extra winter mats funded by BC Housing have been close to full every night.
“This week we received approval from BC Housing to add an additional ten mats because the demand was there,” Fehr tells Kiss FM.
Fehr says BC Housing is also shipping them 20 mats to replace worn-out ones, along with new towels and blankets.
He says the extra mats are making a difference.
“On a nightly basis, there’s 33 more people accessing the shelter that were on the streets in October, so that’s a huge impact to our community.”
He says he can’t say enough about the cooperation shown by BC Housing.
“It’s saving lives is what it’s doing. We’ve had record low temperatures this month, and it’s not safe to be sleeping outside. If we didn’t have these 33 spaces, that’s how many more people would be outside ,” adds Fehr.