Cariboo Friendship Society case manager Shane Boxeur, special programs supervisor, Tamara Garreau, shelter co-ordinator, Dustin Westerman, and security co-ordinator, Grahame Lees, have seen an increase in the number of people accessing the shelter as winter unfolds in the Williams Lake area. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Cariboo Friendship Society case manager Shane Boxeur, special programs supervisor, Tamara Garreau, shelter co-ordinator, Dustin Westerman, and security co-ordinator, Grahame Lees, have seen an increase in the number of people accessing the shelter as winter unfolds in the Williams Lake area. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Editorial: Cold weather increases numbers at Cariboo Friendship Centre shelter

We need proactive work to continue to be funded to address deep and complex issues in the community

With temperatures dipping down due to a cold front hovering over Williams Lake, the Cariboo Friendship Society (CFS) shelter is busy.

Read more: Environment Canada issues alert for ‘cold and blustery weather’ this week

While most of us are bundling up and turning up the heat in our homes, there are many people in our community without a permanent home to sleep safely at night or even cook a decent meal.

On Tuesday night the Cariboo Friendship Society shelter housed 28 guests and on Wednesday, 26 stayed there.

“Our capacity is 30 beds,” said Tamara Garreau, special programs supervisor with CFS. “Our outreach worker and case manager have been driving around to see if there are people needing to come out of the cold.”

There are people choosing not to come to the shelter because they are heavy into addictions and they cannot use substances on the property, Garreau said, noting couples also cannot stay together unless a family unit is available so that can be a deterring factor as well.

In Williams Lake presently there is nowhere else people can go seeking emergency shelter.

Shelter co-ordinator Dustin Westerman said there are people still camping outside in our community and it worries him.

Community members have been donating toques and mitts, and aside from those items, scarves and coats are appreciated.

“We received more than 60 pairs of socks that we handed out,” said case manager Shane Boxeur.

Normally people leave the shelter during the day so staff can clean the rooms, but when it’s very cold, no one will be sent outside, Garreau confirmed.

On Wednesday, when news of the death of Dorian Johnny, 31, surfaced, those who frequent Boitanio Park were saddened by the tragedy.

Read More: Family of Dorian Johnny holds vigil in Boitanio Park Wednesday

Though the cause of his death is not yet known, Johnny was found in the park when temperatures were -13C.

It was heartbreaking to know that another human being in need was laying alone, outside in the cold, in our small community.

Some of those at the park that morning told us they didn’t have a place to live. One said he spent the cold night on the floor inside one of the bank’s foyers. Others stayed at the Cariboo Friendship Centre, they said, while visiting from rural communities.

Poverty, trauma, addictions, mental illness and a lack of affordable housing are extreme challenges in our community.

We need proactive work in the community to continue to be funded to address these deep and complex issues, and the many problems that go along with them, such as crime, abuse, and, sadly, even death.

We thank the outreach workers and emergency responders for their ongoing efforts to help the most vulnerable people in our communities.

­- Williams Lake Tribune



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Public works manager Matt Sutherland stands where the city has placed free sand for residents in the past outside the fence a the works yard. The program is not being offered this year because it was being abused, he said. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Free city sand program in Williams Lake cancelled after rural residents take advantage of it

The sand and salt mixture was intended for city residents only

The Doxtator family is happy to have their cat home after a case of mistaken identify. (Photo submitted)
LETTER: Thanks to RCMP, neighbours our beloved cat Louise was brought home

She was taken from outside our home in Williams Lake

WLFN Chief Willie Sellars (left) gives the thumbs up after a COVID-19 Facebook live update Jan. 14 with Mayor Walt Cobb and CRD Chair Margo Wagner. (Williams Lake First Nation Facebook image)
Williams Lake chief, city mayor and regional chair unite to give latest COVID-19 update

About 300 cases of COVID-19 in the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap region since Jan. 1, say leaders

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read