Evacuees lined up outside the Sandman Centre in Kamloops. Kimberly Vance-Lundsbye photo.

Evacuee benefits extended to July 20

Including accommodation, food and clothing vouchers.

  • Jul. 16, 2017 5:45 a.m.

By Melissa Smalley

BC wildfire evacuees who are relying on benefits from Evacuation Social Services (ESS) will see that support extended until at least July 20, according to ESS director Liz Jones.

Jones says that benefits for evacuees will be extended until at least Thursday, however, those displaced from their homes will need to re-register at one of the many evacuation centres around the province.

Benefits available to wildfire evacuees – the number of which is estimated to be 37,000 across the province following yesterday’s evacuation order in Williams Lake – include accommodation, food and clothing vouchers.

“If they can’t afford to put themselves up somewhere or they don’t have anyone in the area they can stay with, they will be offered group lodging or billeting,” Jones says, noting most hotels are full. “We don’t ever give out cash, but we do have some food vouchers, and if you left in a hurry and don’t have clothes, you can get a clothing voucher as well.”

Jones confirms that residents who have left their homes voluntarily are not eligible for benefits unless they have a proven medical reason to have evacuated without an order to do so.

She also encourages everyone who has been placed under evacuation order to register with the Red Cross if they haven’t done so already; registration can be done by phone at 1-800-863-6582 or online at www.epactnetwork.com/en/signup/redcross

While Jones notes that locally there has been a certain amount of frustration from evacuees, who are finding it challenging to access information, she assures the community the ESS staff are doing the best they can given the circumstances.

The Kamloops evacuation centre – located at the Sandman Centre – will be looking for experienced volunteers to deal with the influx of displaced Williams Lake residents this weekend. A volunteer area is set up where those wanting to help can be put to work, Jones says.

Sunday morning, hundreds of evacuees – many of them seniors – could be seen lined up outside of the Sandman Centre, while hundreds of pets were also outside the arena.

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo to create conceptual designs for fire halls

Committee endorses standardized design of buildings

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nobody want to live in tents

It’s impossible to lump every member of Discontent City in the same category, says letter writer

Nanaimo mayoral candidate Smith announces he’ll try for city council, instead

‘There’s no prize for second place,’ says Norm Smith

Discontent City campers say there’s room for cars and RVs

Organizers open up Nanaimo homeless camp to ‘hidden homeless’

Labour pains: cheap help is hard to find on Vancouver Island

Big Read: high demand for workers, lack of affordable living mean imperfect storm for businesses

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre affordable housing holds official opening

Housing complex on Bowen Road features units that are passive house certified

City urged to support action plan on homelessness crisis

Nanaimo city council presented with reports on homeless count and homelessness action plan

B.C. NHL prospect expected to make ‘full recovery’ after incident in Calgary

Jordy Bellerive was injured in a reported house fire Saturday night

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

B.C. VIEWS: Orphans of our urban drug culture neglected again

Child advocate Bernard Richard leaves B.C. with harsh message

From marijuana beer to pot cookies, Canadian companies creating cannabis edibles

Manufacturers think that edibles will do well with users who don’t want to smoke or vape

Privacy lawyer warns against victim blaming in recent sextortion scams

Perpetrators get sexual photos of the victim and threaten to share them with friends and families

Most Read