Over the last three years Emmanuel has hosted a shelter for the homeless during the winter months. Starting in November and finishing at the end of March, the program saw clients receive a warm meal in the evening, accessibility to showers, a clean bed, and a breakfast in the morning before they went on with their day. Up to 15 clients stayed at the shelter each night.
The shelter was established because we saw a pressing need to do something to address the homelessness situation in our community. Funds were generously provided by BC Housing, as well as through business and individual donations. Volunteers came from multiple churches and the community as a whole. The program then became its own separate society from the church, called the West Kelowna Shelter Society.
The shelter believed that the best solution for addressing homelessness in West Kelowna is to have a stand alone shelter with all the amenities and staffing required for such a project. Together with BC Housing, WFN and the City of West Kelowna, they have been actively searching for a shelter location for the past year. Unfortunately they have been unable to secure a location that can accommodate the number of beds needed, as shown in the 2018 Westside Point in Time count. As of Monday, October 15th, 2018, the West Kelowna Shelter Society announced that, regrettably, there will be no cold weather shelter on the West side this year. See the attached link to the article in Castanet from October 26, 2018:
We remained committed as a church community to do whatever we can do with the resources given to us to advocate for a greater West Kelowna community strategy for addressing homelessness, and to provide best solutions and practices to these concerns that affect us all.
To find out more, check out their website at http://westkelownasheltersociety.com/.