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Campbell River Emergency shelter opens today

20 of 22 beds available due to COVID restrictions
Campbell River’s emergency shelter is opening again on Dec. 4, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

The Campbell River Salvation Army’s Emergency Shelter will be opening this weekend.

The emergency shelter, located at 690 Evergreen Road, will be open starting on Dec. 4. It typically opens every year to those seeking shelter from the cold weather from Nov. 1 to March 31. The contract with BC Housing was renewed this year, but staffing issues as well as renovations to the facility have delayed its opening.

“It could have started as early as Nov. 1. We had two things going on, one was that was the time B.C. Housing decided after three years of us asking, that they would renovate the space in which we are holding the extreme weather shelter, and also we are currently in the process of hiring,” said Sue Moen, during the Dec. 3 Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness meeting, where she announced the opening.

“The good news is I have beautiful suites with bathrooms,” she added. “They’re the apartments right next door to the emergency shelter. Because of COVID, we had some vacant suites, so we are putting the program in that building. There is a kitchen and bathroom in every suite, and up to five mattresses.”

However, there is still a gap in staffing levels. Moen said the shelter is only able to open from Friday until Monday this week, with the possibility of Tuesday as well.

“I know there are two days next week where I have zero staff,” she said. “We are interviewing some new candidates, so I hope to have them trained and available for the following week.”

The shelter is open to adults from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m.

“We always give them a little extra time to have breakfast, get together and give them some time so that there’s something else open by the time they have to leave,” Moen said.

“Traditionally, we have not closed the extreme weather shelter once it’s opened,” she added. “One of the criteria besides weather is community response, so if there are people in need of a warm place to sleep, a hot meal, a shower and laundry, we just leave it open.

“Right now we have funding until the end of March because of the delayed opening, we’ll see when we get that far whether BC housing will extend it.”

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