Nanaimo’s extreme weather shelter opens for season

NANAIMO – Twenty-four-bed shelter offers chronically homeless a warm, dry sleep and meals.

The Extreme Weather Shelter is open for the winter season, offering the homeless a warm bed and hot meals on the coldest winter nights.

The shelter, which has operated since 2008 at the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo on the corner of Millstone Avenue and Townsite Road, has beds for up to 24 people a night and is open 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. seven days a week until March 31.

Kevan Griffith, shelter coordinator, said the shelter opened Saturday this year, a little earlier than usual due to higher numbers of people being turned away from other shelter facilities around town.

There is no cost for a stay at the shelter.

“There’s dinner served and then there’s breakfast in the morning,” Griffith said. “They a get a couple of meals, the night meal and the morning meal, and then they’re on their merry way.”

Griffith said he sees about 10 people who are chronically homeless and come into the shelter only when the coldest winter weather finally drives them indoors. On average, the shelter takes in about 19 people per night, but on the coldest days there can be more people coming through the door than there are beds available, but staff make room for them anyway. The shelter will take in people other shelters won’t.

“Some nights we’ve had 25, 26,” Griffith said. “If they can make it through the door, we take them. It was nice last year, the RCMP brought in a lot of people rather than take them to the drunk tank because we’ll take them as long as they’re not a problem. If they’re bad [RCMP] won’t even bring them … and they’re so appreciative that they’re not going to the drunk tank that they’re on their best best behaviour.”

John Horn, city social planner, said the city contributed $20,000 this year to help cover operational costs.

Other funding sources include private cash donations, which the shelter always welcomes, but it also needs donations of socks, long johns, sweat pants and pyjamas. The shelter also welcomes volunteers.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit the shelter webpage at http://ufon.ca/weather-shelter/ or call 250-754-3720.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIU Mariners add provincial championship to undefeated season

Vancouver Island University women’s team defeats Camosun in PacWest final

Nanaimo Clippers win Island Division, will face Alberni in playoffs

Clippers blow out Bulldogs 6-1 on last day of BCHL regular season

Petition underway to stop bylaw on homeless camping in Regional District of Nanaimo

‘Canadians are known for their meekness but this time we need to have a voice’

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Reconciliation requires that all parties have a voice

Pipeline protests by the hereditary chiefs and their supporters have legitimacy, says letter writer

Oak Bay wins Vancouver Island basketball championship in Nanaimo

Third-place NDSS will get to challenge second place Claremont for a berth in provincials

Oak Bay wins Vancouver Island basketball championship in Nanaimo

Third-place NDSS will get to challenge second place Claremont for a berth in provincials

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

First win, fifth win highlight BC Senior Curling finals

Donna Mychaluk wins first title after finishing second five times; Wes Craig takes fifth crown

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read