Responding to the urgent need from communities around the province, the Government of B.C. is opening additional shelters and providing funding for emergency housing solutions to help people experiencing homelessness have a safe, warm place during the winter.
The new shelters and housing solutions are a result of partnerships with municipalities and non-profits to help ease pressure on communities where existing shelters are running at or over capacity. Projects are confirmed in the following communities:
- Salt Spring Island – a 30-bed shelter operated by the Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society. BC Housing is providing a seasonal operating subsidy to the society, which is currently operating the only shelter available on the Gulf Islands.
- Duncan – a 15-bed women-only shelter operated by the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society. The shelter is the sole women-only shelter in the Cowichan Valley.
- Ladysmith – a 10-bed shelter operated by the Ladysmith Resource Centre Association. This shelter was formerly operating as an extreme weather response shelter but will now be open every night.
- Nanaimo – a 35-bed shelter operated by the Nanaimo Women’s Resource Society. The shelter is in addition to three other shelters in Nanaimo operating at or above capacity every night.
- Kamloops – a 30-bed shelter operated by the Mustard Seed New Life Community. The shelter is in addition to two others operating in Kamloops.
- Prince Rupert – a 25-bed shelter operated by the North Coast Transition Society. BC Housing is extending operating funding to keep the temporary shelter open through the winter.
- Fort St. James – a 12-bed extreme weather response shelter operated by the Keys Resource Centre Society. This is the only shelter available in the community.
- Burnaby – an overnight shelter to be operated by the Progressive Housing Society. There is an urgent need for an overnight shelter and day space to accommodate people experiencing homelessness over the winter, as there is currently only one extreme weather shelter in the city.
- Chilliwack – temporary expansion of the women-only transition house from 10 to 22 beds. Operated by the Ann Davis Transition Society, this women's housing is in addition to six shelters operating in the community at or above capacity.
- Kelowna – 20 rent supplements will be available, in addition to the four shelters in the community operating at or above capacity.
The Province also announced two shelters on Dec. 7, 2018:
- A 15-bed shelter operated by RainCity Housing in Gibsons to add to the shelter in Sechelt, which was the only shelter serving the entire Sunshine Coast area: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018MAH0156-002371
- An up-to-40-bed shelter in West Kelowna operated by the West Kelowna Shelter Society. This is the only shelter in the City of West Kelowna. Nearby shelters in the City of Kelowna are operating at or above capacity: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018MAH0155-002370
More temporary shelters and extreme weather shelters may be added throughout the season as needed and where appropriate.
There are currently 1,524 temporary shelter spaces and 883 extreme weather response shelter spaces in operation around the province. These spaces are in addition to more than 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter spaces available throughout British Columbia.
For a complete list of shelters funded by the Province and a map of where they are located, visit: https://smap.bchousing.org/Shelters-ViewController-context-root/faces/shelters_list.jsf
- Through the Building BC Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the Province is investing $291 million to build 2,000 homes throughout B.C. and more than $170 million over three years for 24/7 staffing and support services. More than 2,000 of these homes are underway in 22 B.C. communities.
- The Province is also investing $1.2 billion over 10 years in the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund, which will create 2,500 units of supportive housing for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
- The opening of temporary and extreme weather shelters build on the work government is doing to reduce poverty in British Columbia. In October 2018, the B.C. government introduced the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act. Informed by thousands of people who participated in a comprehensive public consultation, the act sets out targets and defines the scope of the poverty reduction strategy, which will be released in early 2019.