Housing for the homeless is the focus for those gathering by a sacred fire that's burning in downtown Kenora. Geordie Kakekagumik is among the volunteers standing in front of a teepee at the corner of First and Chipman, as they tend the fire.

"It just sucks that my buddy's in a place without heat and without water. The only good thing is that he's out of the wind," he said.

By tradition, a sacred fire is an Indigenous approach to wellness approach. It can also be a spiritual doorway that opens to a spiritual realm, so that individuals can communicate. A sacred fire is never left alone, as it's watched and attended to by a fire keeper.

"It's just to be kind. I think we all need to share that kindness, and we know that homelessness in Kenora is a big thing. So, it's important that people have compassion," said Margie Sandy, as she dropped off refreshments.

A meeting of the All Nations Health Partners was held Monday afternoon, in order to discuss the opening of 19 temporary rooms at the Waterview Inn, formerly the Tower Motel in Norman. The rooms are meant to provide shelter, until more permanent homes are built next year.

Community partners have said the emergency shelter, Fellowship Centre and detox centre are at full capacity. This has left those without homes to wander the streets at night, some finding comfort on warm vents.

For more information:

Homeless just wandering downtown: Compassionate Kenora

Emergency shelter is full: CMHA

Waterview to host homeless