Arbutus Grove Church in downtown Parksville is hosting the community’s winter-weather shelter, which will operate through March 31. - News file photo

Parksville’s cold-weather shelter now open

The eight-bed shelter will be in use until March 31 in the Arbutus Grove Church

Parksville’s cold-weather shelter opened for the season on Nov. 1.

The eight-bed shelter operates in the Arbutus Grove Church located in downtown Parksville and will remain open until March 31.

Read: Cold-weather shelter opens Nov. 1

Read: Parksville cold-weather shelter gets government funding

“The weather’s not great today (Nov. 1) so chances are [homeless individuals] will be lining up to get in,”said Violet Hayes, executive director with the Island Crisis Care Society (ICCS).

The shelter is open nightly from 6 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Hayes estimates there’s approximately 100 homeless people living in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

“We had done the point in time count… but of course it doesn’t catch everyone,” Hayes said. “It’s just a point in time and not everyone is willing to be counted.”

The homeless count, co-ordinated by the province, recorded 42 people who were identified as experiencing homelessness during the count, which took place over a 24-hour period between March 1 and April 30, 2018 from Nanoose Bay to Bowser.

Read: New data gives insight into Parksville Qualicum Beach-area homeless community

A rumour has been circling on social media that homeless from Nanaimo’s tent city are being bused to Port Alberni.

Wes Hewitt, executive director for the Port Alberni Shelter Society, told the Alberni Valley News that the rumour is “absolutely untrue.”

Read: No homeless being bused to Port Alberni from Nanaimo tent city

Hayes added that people from Nanaimo’s tent city are also not being shipped to Parksville.

“They’re still here (Nanaimo),”she said. “We’re working in Nanaimo and we have a lot of homeless people here.”

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