St.Anne’s Church in Parksville, which turns 125 years old this year, is offering ‘stay and pray’ vigils until a cold-weather solution is found in the area. (Cloe Logan photo)

St.Anne’s Church offers temporary solution to cold-weather shelter issue

’Pray and stay’ vigils will happen nightly

Although St. Anne’s Church has stepped up and offered a warm place to sleep for those in need, Rev. Christine Muise emphasized it’s a temporary solution to a pressing problem — they’re not providing a cold-weather shelter.

Muise, who is the Priest Associate for St. Anne’s, said Parksville Qualicum Beach still needs to find a permanent plan for a cold-weather shelter, but that St.Anne’s will offer ‘pray and stay’ vigils nightly until that happens, provided they have people to help them do so.

READ MORE: Concern heightens over cold-weather shelter situation in Parksville Qualicum Beach

The vigils have been happening since Dec.6, with people showing up to eat and rest until 7:30 a.m. Muise said she saw the cold-weather solution not being able to happen quickly enough.

“So we’re not a temporary shelter. In celebration of my 11 years of ordination which was on Dec., 6, we decided to have a vigil. It’s a pray and stay. And so we got together, we sang some songs, shared some food,” she said. “Some folks stayed for a couple hours, and some people stayed for longer.”

Robin Campbell, director of Manna Homeless Society, said although the vigil is a significant help to people affected by homelessness in the region, a cold-weather shelter solution needs to happen soon.

“It’s flawed in so many ways, but it’s the best thing we got,” said Campbell. “At least they’re trying.”

In mid-November, B.C. Housing said they were working with community organizations to find a shelter model for the area.

Rather than having a dedicated cold-weather shelter, different places would share the duties.

People would be picked up at a central location, where transportation provided by BC Housing would take them to the shelter location for the night.

Campbell said this structure is problematic for a lot of residents due to the lack of stability, and that the area will need to come up with a dedicated shelter next year regardless of what happens this winter.

“The churches are only going to do it for this year, they made it clear that it’s a one-time thing,” said Campbell.

READ MORE: Still no firm plan for cold-weather shelter in Parksville

In the spring, the City of Parksville secured full control over the use of what is now supportive housing complex Orca Place by purchasing it for $700,000 and repaying a $492,400 grant-in-aid to the Regional District of Nanaimo.

With the purchase, the housing facility no longer required an eight-bed cold-weather shelter, which was a requirement of the Regional District of Nanaimo.

However, Deb Tardiff, manager of communications for Parksville, re-iterated to the NEWS that the city isn’t involved in finding a cold-weather solution — that the onus falls completely on B.C. housing.

“We’re not involved with that at all,” said Tardiff.

BC Housing is expected to provide an update this week about the plan for a cold-weather shelter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Greens hurrying to get candidates in place for provincial election

No candidates announced yet in Nanaimo, Nanaimo-North Cowichan or Parksville-Qualicum

RCMP: Trio arrested, firearms seized after report of shots fired in rural Qualicum Beach

Police say search also found evidence of large-scale drug operation

Parksville Royals second at Victoria baseball tournament

Seniors player showcase talents in front of scouts

Dougal the blind raven enjoys role as ambassador at North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

Bird helps animal care technicians teach visitors about his species

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Most Read