Reaching out to Okanagan homeless veterans

VETS Canada creating network across Okanagan Valley

Roger Powley is building a volunteer network across the Okanagan Valley to help military veterans in crisis.

Powley is one of three volunteers in Kelowna along with one each in Kamloops and Vernon establishes so far to help bring support and awareness to homelessness among veterans.

His hope is to establish a VETS (Veterans Emergency Transition Services) Canada assistance network extending from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos.

An event on Saturday, the third annual Vets Canada Coast to Coast Tour of Duty walk will take place in 21 cities across the country, including Kelowna for the first time, to help further that cause.

Powley, who served in the Canadian army for 27 years, is one of 400 volunteers in 22 Canadian cities volunteering for VETS Canada.

He said their efforts this past year helped one 84-year-old vet of the Korean War who was living out of his car find residence in a seniors’ home, and help ‘clean up’ another 42-year-old man who had served three tours of duty in Afghanistan but was left suffering from mental health and addiction issues.

Powley says the Gospel Mission in Kelowna reports they see anywhere from four to 10 veterans at the homeless shelter each year.

He cited a study commissioned by the federal government in 2016 based on surveys of more than 60 homeless shelters across Canada that more than 2,700 veterans are either homeless or reliant on shelters.

This past year, the agency has received 2,000 requests for help from individuals.

“It’s a major issue in our country but one that is not well advertised. Beyond trying to help our vets, we do this walk and part of our mandate is to raise that level of awareness,” Powley said.

“We are a non political organization and we work with private funding supporters and other agencies to provide help.”

Powley noted the support of Value Village, which provides kitchen, bathroom and other living supplies for homeless vets who are set up in permanent residences after being discovered to be homeless and often without any extended family support.

Powley said the local Legions in both Kelowna and Penticton have been supportive of the local VETS Canada efforts through donations generated from the poppy sale campaign.

For more information on how to volunteer, check out the website www.vetscanada.org.

The Kelowna walk will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday from the tennis courts in City Park and the procession will head down Leon Avenue with the goal to visit four different homeless shelters during the two-hour event.

For more

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

Just Posted

Kelowna man arrested in connection with the murder of Alberta man

A second man is also wanted in connection with the first degree murder of Cody Michaloski

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

North and Central Okanagan on flood watch

Kalamalka Lake users are asked to take measure to reduce the risk… Continue reading

Okanagan-shot film “The Colour Rose” wins two cinematography awards

Locations in the Okanagan were used such as; The Casorso residence, BNA, Father Pandosy, Venture Academy and Idabel Lake Resort

Kelowna Rockets Alumni Leon Draisaitl crowned NHL scoring champ

Draisaitl captures the Art Ross Trophy with 110 points in 71 games played

Kelowna couple pedalling past loss of sight

Pauline and Jim Marshall said it’s important to be patient with each other

Princeton officially becomes ’Bronze Statue Capital of Canada’

“We are going to come out of this fine.” That’s the opinion… Continue reading

Partial return to class for Central Okanagan students: COVID-19

School District 23 and the Board of Education have released a letter regarding returning to class

LETTER: Summerland solar project should be reviewed

Questions raised about feasibility of proposed power project

New ‘smart city’ 5G technology to be installed in Kelowna next week

‘This is an exciting opportunity for Kelowna to build on the work we’re doing to bring smart city technologies to our city’ - Mayor Colin Basran

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Police investigating after hydrant hit by van in West Kelowna

The incident occurred around 5:40 p.m. near Boucherie Road

Pregnant Revelstoke woman catches COVID-19 days before giving birth

Michelle Hunter said she felt like she was in a horror movie when she discovered she had COVID-19

Vernon chamber backs council’s opposition of downtown overdose prevention site

The chamber sent a letter to B.C.’s health minister calling for the site not to be located downtown

Most Read