Recent frigid weather demonstrates the conditions those at risk of homelessness face and the urgent need for North Okanagan residents to rally around their neighbours.

On Feb. 24, the Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon & District will once again host the Coldest Night of the Year. The goal of $40,000 will go towards the North Okanagan Rent Bank, which provides housing stability to individuals and families experiencing short-term financial difficulties.

“It was extremely chilly as the temperature dipped to minus 29, but for most of us, we could ride out the weather, knowing that we had a secure, safe place to call home. But for others, the deep freeze was a stark reminder that they risk being outside because they are unable to pay rent,” said Julia Payson, CMHA Vernon & District executive director. “CMHA Vernon recognizes the work of agencies like Turning Points, Upper Room Mission and Okanagan Regional Library in helping save lives over the last week.

“Paying rent is jeopardized when unexpected expenses arise, whether it’s a new prescription, winter clothes for the kids or much-needed repairs to the car. That’s why the North Okanagan Rent Bank is essential for low to moderate-income renters to access assistance to pay rent or utilities due to an emergency that impacts their ability to pay.”

To ensure the North Okanagan Rent Bank is there for individuals and families in need, community support is needed for Coldest Night of the Year.

Participants will take part in a two or five-kilometre walk through downtown Vernon and then celebrate their efforts together at the finish line. All those who raise over $150 ($75 for youth) will also wear iconic CNOY toques as they face the cold night.


To register a team or to donate, visit


“We are excited to see teams coming together and raising funds for housing stability and we would encourage residents, businesses, and organizations to get involved. You can make a significant difference in the lives of friends and neighbours by participating in Coldest Night of the Year,” said Payson.


The North Okanagan Rent Bank is available to residents in Cherryville, Lumby, Coldstream, Vernon, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, Enderby and Grindrod.



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