Concerns In Our Neighbourhood

By on March 31, 2024

Kokanee Concerns – February 2, 2024 Issue

It has been a little over three weeks since we published an edition of Kokanee Concerns. In this new year, we have adjusted our regular pattern and rhythm of ministry in order to be present to immediate emerging concerns in the local area. This past month, much of the region was affected by an extreme weather event, leading to a dramatic drop in temperatures (-22 to -26C) which particularly affected the most vulnerable, the unhoused population. At short notice, we were called upon to provide space for sixteen individuals to sleep warmly and safely as we established the Winter Emergency Response program with ANKORS, the City of Nelson, and the Nelson Committee on Homelessness.

This has meant that we adjusted our space in order to accommodate our guests, plus the staff workers and volunteers. We adjusted some of our storage so that we could house the necessary items for use (cots, emergency medical supplies, blankets, sleeping bags). In many ways we integrated ourselves within the larger community, taking on our role as a host and a good neighbour in the best ways possible.

Later this past month, we found out that the Hub Centre will be closing at the end of March. This is due to a decrease in federal funding and increased rent for the location. This affects front-line workers and the 77+ clients that use the Hub every weekday. Now there is a further conversation occurring that is trying to sort out how we can continue to care for those who are vulnerable, and access the Hub’s support on a weekly basis.

This past week we hosted a thank-you to volunteers who assisted with the Winter Emergency Response program. Next week I am meeting with representatives of BC Housing as they review the space, knowing that we are still on call as an emergency winter bed location for Nelson up until March 31. I continue to prepare and to pray for all those who are affected by extreme weather events, homelessness, and the challenges of living in precarity.

It is apparent to me that a wider conversation is needed between the federal government, province, the city, aid agencies like ANKORS, Nelson Cares, and community partners like ourselves. As the climate crisis grows, there will be ever-increasing needs for shelter, emergency response, and community plans to address shifting dynamics of weather, smoke, heat, flood, and other challenges.

As I walked to work again this morning, I was reminded of my place and privilege. Throughout the extreme weather event, I didn’t get cold. I wasn’t hungry, I always had a place, a community, a partner, and a family that loved and supported me. In my reflections as I walked this morning, I passed the public toilet on Baker and Hall, and noticed a sign which read, ‘Closed due to extreme weather.’ It was a further reminder of the harshness of life for those who are unhoused in our community.

How can we respond? How can we pray? What can we do?

Write to your federal minister and your provincial government. Speak with city councillors. Have conversations with neighbours and family. Include prayers for the unhoused and front-line workers in your daily prayers, and in the prayers of the people. Challenge yourself to read and learn more about how to be compassionate in our daily lives with strangers, neighbours, unhoused or housed. Donate to the St Saviour’s Food Pantry or volunteer.

Take time to go down to the Hub and introduce yourself to Front-Line workers, and learn about the programs and supports that are needed. Advocate for positive change. This is how we live out our baptismal covenant. These are ways we can live the Way of Jesus in the



  • David Burrows

    The Rev David Burrows is the Incumbent of Kokanee Parish

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