The Salvation Army will continue to operate the extreme weather shelter for the Oceanside region, but the location was changed Dec. 8 from The Salvation Army Church at 187 Alberni Highway to 249 West Hirst Avenue, Parksville (the old Ambulance Station next to the SOS).
It will remain at this location until the end of December. To find out if the shelter is open, call 250-954-3082.
The shelter will continue to be open from 6 p.m. until 8 a.m. on nights of inclement or extreme weather only. Clients will be provided with cots, blankets, pillows, along with an evening meal and breakfast.
When activated, the extreme weather shelter will be funded by B.C. Housing, the Regional District of Nanaimo Homelessness Action Fund, The Salvation Army, and the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness. Funding for the shelter is available from November 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016.
In the winter of 2014/15, the shelter was open a total of 37 nights due to snow and cold temperatures.
The protocol for the Oceanside region extreme weather shelter is standard for extreme weather shelters on the Island, according to the task force. Implementation of the extreme weather response plan is called when weather conditions are deemed severe enough to present a substantial threat to the life or health of homeless persons. Extreme weather conditions are defined as:
• Temperatures near zero with rainfall that makes it difficult or impossible for homeless people to remain dry.
• Sleet/freezing rain.
• Snow accumulation.
• Sustained high winds.
• Temperatures at or below minus-2 Celsius, taking into account wind chill.
Since Nov. 1, the shelter has been open 23 nights, including last night, Monday, Dec. 14. A decision on the shelter opening tonight will be made this morning. There have been 52 “attendances” this year, 50 males and two females. That is not a number of individual people who have been in the shelter — that number includes repeats. On average, one-three people stay in the shelter, with five being the maximum experienced in one night. The shelter has room for eight people.
— NEWS Staff/SOS