The coming week, forecast to be the coldest so far this fall, will also be the first week of the newly expanded and re-opened cold-weather shelter.
Nanaimo’s Society for Equity, Inclusion and Advocacy announced in a press release Monday that the winter shelter opens today, Nov. 25, and will remain open until March 31. The shelter is funded by the province’s B.C. Housing branch and operated by the society.
“A safe, warm place is especially important for people experiencing homelessness as cold weather approaches,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo MLA, in the release. “As we continue the work of building permanent affordable housing, we’re grateful to work with the [society] to provide these shelter spaces.”
The shelter, at St. Peter’s Hall at 301 Machleary St., operated at full to over-capacity last year, according to the release.
Chantale Roelens, society executive director, pointed to the high rate of people experiencing homelessness in the city and the region and said the society’s goal is to work with social supports to try to find stable housing and support networks for clients.
“We provide the basics of life of shelter, food, warmth and safety,” said Bishop Gary Gordon in the release. “Finding affordable housing and the challenge of poverty can be an inescapable cycle for many people. We work together – government, social agencies and parishes – to help reduce homelessness among our most vulnerable populations.”
Shelter clients receive a hot dinner and can find connections to social services, literacy programs, elder visits and other supports, the release notes.