BC Housing will request a Temporary Use Permit to create a new shelter on property between the Old Bridge and Columbia River Skywalk at the Trail’s next council meeting, August 21.
BC Housing, with the support of the city, is proposing to build a 25-bed shelter at 2039 Riverside Ave. to respond to an urgent need for people experiencing homelessness in Trail.
The current shelter on Bay Ave. in downtown Trail was deemed unsuitable for long term use, so another property had been recommended by the city back in February at 585 Rossland Ave. in the Gulch.
After considerable opposition from residents, council rejected the proposal, but have been working with BC Housing to identify another location. The current shelter is set for closure when its permit expires next month (Sept. 2023).
“By relocating to the new location, we can improve site layout, increase services, and connect more people to the support they need,” said BC Housing in a release. “We will continue to work to increase affordable opportunities across the housing spectrum for everyone.”
Trail RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich is in contact with many who experience homelessness and drug addiction in Greater Trail, and as a member of the Supportive Housing Committee, he is a strong advocate for the shelter.
“We need to have shelter for those in need,” Wicentowich told the Times. “The proposed facility will have space for 25 people. It will provide access to basic shelter, food, and overall well-being. It will also provide a space for those who need somewhere to go during the day, and lessen the spread of people and conflict through the downtown core.”
BC Housing’s plan is to transport pre-built modular units to the site for a quick and efficient install before the onset of winter.
Wicentowich says that people experiencing homelessness include seniors, people with disabilities, people who have experienced trauma or poverty, or who are struggling with the high cost of housing.
The shelter will provide daily meals, case management and health care referrals, laundry and shower facilities, fully fenced perimeter with privacy screening and gated access, security lighting and cameras, indoor common area and outdoor space, storage, and on-site 24/7 staff support as well as property maintenance.
“It is hoped that the daily care and contact with facility employees will improve the overall well being of the clients, and perhaps be able to connect them with programs and employment when possible. It is believed that it will reduce the impact on the downtown core and business who are directly affected by some of the issues.”
BC Housing’s plan recognizes that shelters are not a “solution to homelessness,” but by receiving the temporary use permit from council and relocating to Riverside Ave., it will afford refuge for many, while BC Housing continues to work toward increasing affordable housing options in Greater Trail.
Residents are invited to attend the Aug. 21 council meeting at 6 p.m. at Trail City Hall and/or submit questions to email@example.com.
“As a community, and humanitarians, we do need to reach out and help the small percentage of people, who have the worst circumstance and luck, get back on their feet,” added Wicentowich.