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Extreme weather shelter opens doors to concerned neighbours

The First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo is opening the doors of its extreme weather shelter to the neighbours.

Neighbourhood residents close to the fellowship, 595 Townsite Rd., are invited to two open houses at the shelter where they can ask questions and meet the people involved.

It’s all part of the community consultation process the congregation is having as it considers whether or not to move to being a full-time, cold, wet weather shelter open each night until Mar. 31.

“We want to obtain the neighbourhood’s blessing and give the neighbours opportunities to ask questions, so that we can work collaboratively to ensure that the shelter is a benefit to the community,” said Rev. Karen Fraser Gitlitz, shelter organizer.

The open houses take place Wednesday (Jan. 26) from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and Jan. 30 from 2-4 p.m.

Hosts will be volunteer shelter coordinators Joyce and Bill Hedges.

John Horn, City of Nanaimo social planner and May Partridge, board president of the congregation, as well as shelter workers, food and volunteer coordinators and volunteers will also be in attendance.

The congregation is also distributing 250 information letters from Gitlitz to the neighbours on Sunday (Jan. 23) giving them the background to the shelter’s development.

Neighbours will also be able to sign up to an e-group to receive shelter updates, and are invited to contact Gitlitz or Horn regarding issues and concerns.

The congregation votes on the full-time shelter proposal Feb. 6 at its annual general meeting.