Members of the Oceanside RCMP

Community action in Parksville Qualicum Beach keeps homeless shelter open

The shelter will be open throughout the holiday season, not just on extreme weather days

Regardless of weather conditions, the extreme weather shelter will be open through the end of the year.

Society of Organized Services executive director Renate Sutherland said that thanks to donations from Morison Avenue merchants, and other local groups and businesses, the shelter will be open through to Jan. 1, 2017.

“The number of nights that will be covered by donations will depend on whether or not the Extreme Weather Response is activated,” Sutherland said. “When the weather meets the criteria, then B.C. Housing covers a portion of the cost.”

The portion from B.C. Housing, Sutherland said, allows the organizers of the local shelter to use less than $600 per night of the donated money, which in turn means they can extend the number of nights they are open without funding from B.C. Housing.

In mid-November, businesses on Morison Avenue banded together in hopes of collecting enough money to keep the shelter open through the holiday season.

The shelter costs $600 per night to provide meals and a warm place to sleep for eight people at the facility.

Weather will dictate how many extra nights the shelter will be able to stay open between now and March 31, 2017, but Sutherland said they hope they can cover the nights that don’t quite meet the criteria but are still nasty.

The shelter, located at 223 Mill St. in Parksville, is open from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Donations in the form of cheques can be made out to the Oceanside Task Force Shelter Fund or Island Crisis Care Society (for a tax receipt) and marked for the Parksville Extreme Weather Shelter.

Visit www.pqbnews.com to see a photo related to this story.

— NEWS Staff

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