A new service is coming to Vernon to help homeless, addicted and exploited women.
Kelowna-based H.O.P.E Outreach is a night time outreach that sees a need for its service here.
H.O.P.E stands for Helping Out People Exploited.
Founder and President Angie Lohr says outreach workers provide personal items to the women and do what they can to help them.
“We’re based on respect and being unjudgemental and just meeting the ladies where they are, various reasons why they’re down there. Actually believe nobody wants to be homeless on the streets.”
The outreach team typically hands out outreach supplies such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, wipes, feminine products, jewelry and makeup when it can and provides warm clothing in the winter.
Lohr says they also take bad date reports so if someone is in exploitation or the sex trade and if that date has gone bad the organization will put out an Okanagan-wide report including a description of the person and the vehicle he drove.
The organization is looking for volunteers to join it’s Vernon team.
“So, we’ll pick a route in Vernon, probably down by the Mission, around the park area, kind of the active areas at night. try and help the women the best we can. Let them know where services are in Vernon.”
Angie says they’ll be out Friday through Sunday nights to provide personal products, compassion and support.
She says they’re coming to Vernon because the Okanagan is very connected.
Women escape out of violence or move to new cities looking for new hope.
She’s had requests in the past to bring the organization to Vernon but hasn’t had the opportunity to do so until now.
Lohr says there are several good agencies in Vernon, but it’s still a crisis with all the agencies needing help.
“Because there are no services open anywhere during the evening or weekends and that’s probably the tragedy that everybody’s facing. You know Monday to Friday people can go in and get their stuff or whatever, their food and then nothing happens from Friday to Sunday.”
Angie says sometimes women are faceless victims.
“Please don’t take this wrong. it’s just easier for a man to sleep in the park than for a woman to sleep in the park. Usually when the women sleep in the park there’s usually someone on top of them in the morning. Then those things aren’t reported and it’s just violence and exploitation. All sorts of things happen.”
An orientation session for volunteers will be held October 1st at the People Place in Vernon.
Angie is looking for a certain type of woman to volunteer.
“I guess mostly unjudgemental, compassionate, caring. Perhaps with experience in this field, not necessarily a requisition.”
H.O.P.E Outreach relies on donations and some fundraising to be able to do its work.
Angie Lohr says she expects 15 to 20 women in Vernon will need the assistance.
She says some have gone to Kelowna for help.
Anyone interested can contact organizers at http://www.hope-outreach.com