Out of the Cold won't open overnight shelter this winter

Out of the Cold Kamloops will not be able to open their overnight shelter this winter after all, the local non-profit announced today (Jan. 14). 

A potential home at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) building on Seymour Street was announced in December, but after a review, it was deemed "not a viable option."

"As a shelter and housing provider, we share a common goal with other agencies in providing services for people experiencing homelessness," says Alfred Achoba, acting operations leader at CMHA-Kamloops, in a news release. "While our clubhouse is safe and meets its current use providing psychosocial rehab programming to our community, we are exploring other ways to support the need for a warming centre in Kamloops."

For years, Out of the Cold ran their shelter out of St. Paul's Cathedral, but it was determined the church could no longer house the program after a review this spring. Now, with no other locations available to house their twice-a-week shelter, Out of the Cold decided to cancel the program for this winter. 

"We have been in search of a new location for the last seven months,” says Lena Cimmarrusti, executive director of the Out of the Cold program, in the release. “It is challenging to find a location that is safe, suitable and zoned for this type of facility. While we are disappointed that we have not found a home for the shelter program this year, we have a very dedicated board and passionate group of volunteers. We have to take a step back from traditional operations, but the board is going to explore its options and see if there is a gap they can fill in another way.”

In the midst of bitter cold temperatures in the region this week, other organizations have opened up warming stations to go along with the two overnight shelters operating at Emerald Centre and Mustard Seed. 

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