The provincial government, through BC Housing, is contributing $143,000 in operation costs for Parksville’s winter weather shelter.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing officially announced Monday (Nov. 27) the opening of the shelter, which has been open nightly at Arbutus Grove Church (170 W. Hirst Ave., Parksville) since Nov. 1.
The NEWS previously reported that at a Nov. 6 Parksville city council meeting, Coun. Mary Beil announced the shelter had opened Nov. 1.
The Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness was unable to announce the opening of the shelter until the official word came from BC Housing.
BC Housing has partnered with the City of Parksville and Island Crisis Care Society to open eight winter shelter spaces at the church.
The shelter is open nightly from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. until March 31, 2018. It replaces the extreme-weather shelter bed that were available in the city last year when the community issued an extreme-weather alert.
The eight beds in Parksville are part of the almost 650 winter shelter spaces and more than 800 extreme-weather shelter and response shelter spaces that are available in more than 40 communities, the ministry stated in a written news release.
Violet Hayes, Island Crisis Care Society executive director, said the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness is happy to be able to provide a winter shelter to the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
“A huge thank you goes to the Arbutus Grove Church in Parksville for allowing us to use their building every night,” Hayes said in the release.
Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said the eight shelter spaces are temporary but necessary.
“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,” Robinson said. “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.”
— NEWS Staff/Ministry news release