22 more beds added to Kamloops, B.C., homeless shelter still not enough

The Stuart Wood temporary homeless shelter in Kamloops, B.C., has opened up more space for beds as each night they have more visitors than places to sleep.

Not enough beds for the area's homeless, shelter spokesperson says

The 52 beds originally made available at the Stuart Wood shelter are not enough — often 10 to 15 people spend the night awake at the shelter because there is no space for them to sleep. (Tara Copeland/CBC)

The Stuart Wood temporary homeless shelter in Kamloops, B.C., has opened up extra space for more beds, but a shelter spokesperson says it still won't be enough for those who need a warm place to sleep.

Since the shelter opened on Nov. 1, 2017, people have steadily been turned away.

"We have seen an incredible amount of people come to the shelter. More than we ever anticipated," said Christa Mullaly, who oversees the shelter. She said the numbers show there are more than 200 people in the city in need of shelter beds.

Visitors are able to go to the shelter and have something to eat, chat with staff and stay warm overnight. But with only 52 beds, some of them don't get the chance to sleep there. 

The annex, an outbuilding on the property, has had 22 more beds added.  

In addition, Mullaly said there are a lot of people who aren't able to get to the shelter because of weather conditions.  

"There is still a number of individuals that just can't make the trek to the shelter," she said.

Since snow arrived in Kamloops in mid-December, it's been difficult for people to travel across the city to get to Stuart Wood.

"People are spending the night on the North Shore on the streets, in alleyways, doorways," Mullaly said. "People are really just hunkering down to stay warm rather than coming across the bridge to come stay with us."