The B.C. government is stepping in with an additional $21,000 in funding so Nanaimo’s winter shelter, operated by the First Unitarian Fellowship, can stay open until the end of March.
Rev Samaya Oakley is with the First Unitarian Fellowship, which operates the 24-bed shelter. She says this cash infusion is exactly what they needed.
It’s a one-time grant, on top of about $29,000 the shelter received from BC Housing to open on extreme weather nights, when the temperature dipped below zero, or two degrees with wind and rain.
Oakley says they’re still asking the City of Nanaimo for $60,000 in funding for next year.
The province says shelters in Nanaimo have been at capacity this winter. They also fund 10 beds at the Samaritan House, run by the Island Crisis Care Society and 23 beds at New Hope Shelter, run by the Salvation Army, to the tune of about $1.4 million dollars a year.
“We are committed to working with our non-profit partners, local governments and businesses to ensure services are provided for people who are homeless, especially during the winter months,” says Rich Coleman, the Minister Responsible for Housing. “We are working with the Unitarian Fellowship to make sure no one is turned away, while we look at long term solutions in the community.”