With winter weather coming soon, homeless people in Campbell River will again be able to seek refuge from driving rain and diving temperatures in an emergency shelter.
On Monday, a First Nations blessing ceremony was held at the shelter located on Radiant Life Community Church property on Cypress Street. On hand were Mayor Andy Adams, city officials, respresentatives of Campbell River Family Services which operates the shelter and other supporters.
From Nov. 1 to March 31, Campbell River Family Services Society will manage the emergency shelter. The shelter houses 16 beds in a converted shipping container that required extensive restoration work this year.
The $15,000 restoration funded by the City of Campbell River included repainting the inside and outside of the shelter and installing a more efficient heating system.
The emergency shelter, which the original owner offered to Campbell River Family Services Society for $1, is now in place and ready to operate.
“Family Services recognizes the emergency shelter is a temporary solution, and we would like to have it open every night,” says Camille Lagueux, the society’s executive director.
She adds, “The City has been really supportive, and working together makes a huge difference for our most vulnerable citizens. The challenge is to find funding for nights that don’t fall into the extreme weather criteria. We’re hoping the community will rally behind us to help.”
Lagueux suggests families or businesses could consider sponsoring the cost of operating a bed or a room in the shelter for the winter. Anyone who would like to help is asked to contact Paul Mason at 250-287-2421.
“Council is pleased to support the renovations of the shelter and work with Family Services and Radiant Life Church to provide these critical services. On behalf of the entire community, City Council extends its great appreciation to Family Services and Radiant Life Church for their initiative and dedication to helping homeless people,” says Mayor Andy Adams. “With the emergency shelter now restored and ready to operate, we encourage residents, groups and organizations to do what they can to provide support for operating the shelter and meal programs.”
In 2009, the total number of unsheltered people in Campbell River was 37. A survey conducted this September indicates that number has grown to 52. In addition, approximately 33 people are homeless, but staying in local shelters.
Along with locating the emergency shelter on vacant land next to the fire hall for the past two winters, and funding support for this fall’s restoration, recent city initiatives related to assist affordable housing and alleviating homelessness include:·
Land donation for women’s transition house (Rose Harbour) covered development and servicing fees
- Palmer (Nikola) place – covered development and servicing fees
- Habitat for Humanity land donations
- Sustainable Official Community Plan – incorporates social wellbeing/social issues
- Integrated Community Sustainability Plan incorporates social wellbeing/social issues
- Supporting our Social Mosaic: A Social Development Plan (2010)
- Affordable Housing Strategy 2010
- Community Health Network (Regional)
- Homelessness Coalition
- Social Planning Committee
- Youth Engagement Strategy
- Crime Reduction Strategy
Over the past decade the City of Campbell River has developed and contributed to dozens of social initiatives throughout the community. Even though the City does not have a designated social planning function, the plans and policy framework of the City often integrates the known community social needs.