The Connect Warming Centre at 685 Cliffe Ave. will operate an Extreme Weather Shelter until the end of March, as approved Monday (Feb. 22) by Courtenay council.
Connect was deemed to be the best shelter location due to its proximity to the shower program at the Lewis Centre, and because it is known as a place that supports individuals experiencing homelessness. It is also operated by the Comox Valley Transition Society — a member agency of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness.
“The coalition is deeply grateful to the Comox Valley Transition Society and all those who stepped up to support us to quickly respond during the extreme weather we recently had,” coalition co-ordinator Andrea Cupelli said. “Imagine sleeping outside during the storms of the Family Day long weekend? Once we opened, word of mouth quickly grew and the folks who accessed the Connect temporary shelter came to us extremely cold, exhausted and hungry, and were truly grateful for the safety and respite the shelter provided.”
The CVTS secured funding through BC Housing to operate the overnight shelter, which has eight beds available. It’s been open daily from 7:30 p.m.-7:30 a.m. since Feb. 12, when temperatures dropped to minus-four Celsius. All eight beds were used on Feb. 14 and 15.
BC Housing has provided funds to operate the shelter until March 31.
The coalition is also grateful to the city for supporting Connect, and to the Pidcock emergency shelter for continuing to provide shelter every night of the year.
“We hope that the awareness of the urgent need for shelter is the spark that leads to the creation of more supportive housing in our community,” Cupelli said. “There are still so many people in need of a place to lay their heads at night, and those homes need to be connected to supports so people can remain successfully housed and break the cycle of chronic homelessness.”