People struggling with homelessness in Parksville now have access to nightly shelter spaces during the cold and wet winter months.
The British Columbia government, through BC Housing, has partnered with the City of Parksville and the Island Crisis Care Society to open eight winter shelter spaces at the Arbutus Grove Church at 170 West Hirst Ave.
“We want to make sure people who are homeless have a safe and warm place to go, especially when the weather can threaten their health and well-being,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These shelter spaces are a temporary but necessary resource while we work with the City of Parksville and other communities to develop permanent, long-term solutions to address homelessness in B.C.”
The shelter will be open nightly from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. until March 31, 2018. It replaces the extreme-weather shelter beds that were available in the city last winter when the community issued an extreme weather alert.
“We sincerely appreciate the willingness of Arbutus Grove Church to partner with local organizations and the Province to house the winter shelter for the 2017-2018 season,” said City of Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre. “The city also wishes to recognize the continuing work of the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness to provide a warm and safe place for those less fortunate in our community.”
The Province is providing approximately $143,000 in operating funding for the shelter.
The shelter beds are part of the almost 650 winter shelter spaces and more than 800 extreme-weather-response shelter spaces that are available in more than 40 communities.
“We are happy to be able to provide a winter shelter to the Oceanside area again this year,” said Violet Hayes, executive director, Island Crisis Care Society. “A huge thank you goes to the Arbutus Grove Church in Parksville for allowing us to use their building every night.”
The Province also funds outreach teams that work at shelters and on the street to help connect individuals experiencing homelessness with housing and support services, such as income assistance and mental health services.
- The B.C. government is investing $291 million to build 2,000 modular housing units for people who are homeless and more than $170 million over three years to provide 24/7 staffing and support services.
- The new modular housing will provide a rapid response to addressing homelessness in communities throughout British Columbia. Each modular building will provide self-contained units with personal kitchens and washrooms.
- The Province will be working with local governments and community partners to develop a Homelessness Action Plan to reduce homelessness through permanent housing and services.
For more about the Province’s emergency shelter program: www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/emergency-shelter-program
To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., visit: www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map