Castlegar city council has approved a plan from the operators of the The Way Out homeless shelter for the services they will offer over the next four months.
BC Housing funding for the overnight shelter runs out on June 30. The shelter has not been designated as a year-round shelter, so was always slated to close once the weather warmed up.
Castlegar and District Community Services Society (CDCSS) operates the shelter in the former Flamingo Hotel. The shelter is not owned or managed by the City of Castlegar in any way.
While overnight stays will end, CDCSS plans to continue offering the other services based out of the site such as drug testing, harm reduction supplies, hygiene services and several low-cost rental units..
During the time it was open, the shelter was usually at its capacity of 10. But CDCSS says they actually are working on more than 70 files for the homeless in the community. They have also been feeding about 25 people a day over and above the shelter residents.
CDCSS says the need is increasing. Every day staff see women fleeing violence, families who are evicted and individuals who have lost housing due to addictions, mental health issues, sale of houses, or inadequate housing situations.
In the coming months, CDCSS will shift its focus to offering outreach help direct to homeless camps and individuals and drop-in support at the shelter.
Direct support services to encampments will include delivery of food, supplies and harm reduction supplies.
At the shelter, clients can access laundry facilities, showers, hygiene supplies, harm reduction supplies, telephone, internet and referrals to other services. These services will be provided between noon and 8 p.m.
CDCSS director Kristein Johnson says the new services will start in a few weeks, once the organization can fine tune its procedures and safety plans related to the outreach services.
Funding for the summer outreach and drop-in services will be provided by BC Housing. CDCSS hopes to reopen the shelter to overnight stays in the fall.