Arbutus Grove Church in downtown Parksville is hosting the community’s cold-weather shelter, which will operate through March of 2018. — NEWS file photo

Winter weather shelter operates at capacity

Society’s executive director says there were occasions people were turned away

With the recent deluge of snow and the dipping temperature in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, the region’s winter weather shelter has been operating nearly at full capacity.

The 8-bed shelter in Arbutus Grove Church, located at 170 W. Hirst Ave. in Parksville, has been able to provide warm beds to sleep in and hot meals to those who do not have a home to stay in.

“Some nights it’s six to eight (people),” said Violet Hayes, executive director of Island Crisis Care Society and co-chair of the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness. “For the most part we’re right around capacity.”

However, Hayes indicated there were some nights when the shelter was so full that it was forced to shut its doors to some people, which she says was “heartbreaking.”

“There have been a few, but not too many,” said Hayes. “Last week, there was one time and the week before we had one as well. And before that there were three (nights). There are no alternatives when it’s full other than coming to Nanaimo. We only have eight beds.”

Some people have turned to the Salvation Army for help. Major Norm Hamelin said whenever people approach Sally Ann for assistance, it directs them to the winter weather shelter first. When it’s full and they have no other recourse, he said, “we can look at each individual’s situation.”

Hayes does not have figures for the total number of people who have used the shelter yet, but she feels it’s still less than last year’s figures.

“From my experience, around Christmas time you see lighter numbers because that’s when family members are often able to take people in,” said Hayes. “But after the Christmas season is over, they’re not so willing, sometimes.”

The emergency shelter was opened on November 1 and received funding of $143,000 from BC Housing, through a partnership with the City of Parksville and Island Crisis Care Society.

The shelter will be open from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. until March 31.

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

Just Posted

‘Soft Shore’ public art installation at Parksville city hall more expensive than planned

Plans to install centerpiece from MAC summer show hits roadblocks

Water flushing in Parksville runs until April

Residents can expect water discolouration

Mid Island Distance runners in fine form as season opens

Club competes at 10th annual Harry Jerome meet

Open house set for Feb. 20 to discuss planned cell tower in Qualicum Beach

Concerned resident has started petition in opposition

RDN considering development charges to go toward parks in rural areas

Motion deferred in order to allow for further consultation

WATCH: Man creates intricate replicas of Parksville-area buildings

Historic models currently on display at community centre

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Nanaimo-bound ferry breaks down, but another available for service

Two sailings cancelled Sunday on Tsawwassen-Duke Point route

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read