Many of Oceanside’s homeless are back on the street after living in hotel rooms over the winter months.
Money was supplied by the Society of Organized Services, Salvation Army and Manna Ministries for these accommodations but now with summer rates and short term policies coming back into effect, the homeless are desperately in need of tents, said street minister with Manna Ministry, Steve Karras.
“We are in dire straights,” he said.
If the homeless don’t have an address welfare won’t pay for shelter costs, Karras said, so he’s trying to get the people into campsites at which point they could receive camping vouchers.
Karras has about eight people he’s looking to supply with tents in the Parksville Qualicum area, while Manna Ministries missionary, Robin Campbell, is looking for tents for about seven more in Coombs and Errington.
Besides the tents Karras said they need sleeping bags, clothing and food. In the past few months Karras said not only has the amount of homeless he’s caring for doubled but the number of people in need of food has doubled, reaching up to 100.
Karras is set up every Saturday from 10:30 to 1 p.m. at the Shoppers Grocery Mart across from the Rod and Gun on the Alberni Highway. Here he hands out food, clothing and equipment and also takes donations. Donations can also be taken to the Parksville Baptist Church, at 550 Pym Street.
As long as the tents don’t leak people are encouraged to bring them by, any size is appreciated.