Kristein Johnson is the CDCSS director. Photo: submitted

Kristein Johnson is the CDCSS director. Photo: submitted

Castlegar Community Services opens new winter shelter

The shelter will be open until the end of March

Castlegar and District Community Services Society (CDCSS) has opened a new winter shelter.

The organization is working with BC Housing to operate the 24/7 shelter on the second floor of their downtown Castlegar office.

The Way Out Shelter will provide services between Nov. 1 and March 31. CDCSS has secured funding to ensure there will be two staff members on site at all times, day and night. They also have plans to include daytime programming to support the people who are using the shelter.

The shelter will provide eight to 10 beds, with an additional four cots for overflow. It will be configured to accommodate an easy transition to switch to daytime programming in the same space. It will also provide three meals a day and meet client’s basic needs.

“With COVID-19, we may find that we encounter adjustments due to availability and appropriateness of distancing,” said CDCSS director Kristein Johnson.

“We have established extensive policy and procedures, safety plans, and put safety and security measures in place.”

Johnson says she anticipates that the shelter will fill up nightly, due to the rapid growth in homelessness in the city.

RELATED: A look at homelessness in Castlegar

“We hope to be in a position to help all,” she said.

Johnson says staff have been hired and trained to ensure the safety of clients, staff, and the community.

CDCSS has been working with a variety of individuals, businesses, agencies and governments over the course of the four years they have been working with the homeless.

“Through our funded research around homelessness, point in time counts, our homeless outreach program, and Coldest Night of the Year we have made many valuable connections and partners which we feel will help to make this project a success,” said Johnson.

CDCSS is also looking at a purchasing another property in order to provide long-term housing as well as the winter shelter. They expect to know if the purchase is successful sometime in December.

If you would like to know how to help the shelter, call CDCSS at 250-365-2104.

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