Damp shelter set to open
THE K’SAN House Society has almost lined up another home for its cold weather shelter after last year’s location underwent a renovation, making it unsuitable to use again as a shelter.
“I’m banking the space will be ours and the doors will open Nov. 1,” said Ksan House Society executive director Carol Sabo last week.
Commonly known as a damp shelter and meant for homeless people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the cold weather-only service will be located in a former provincial correctional centre in the city’s industrial services area on Braun St.
The correctional centre was closed nearly a decade ago and was subsequently converted into a youth centre by the Muks-Kum-Ol Housing Society and most recently used as Valard Construction’s headquarters.
The facility is known by Ksan and was used several years ago by Ksan as a damp shelter.
Even before a lease was signed, last week Sabo said that staff had already been hired and trained and a work schedule put in place.
“We’re going on faith,” said Sabo about starting to prepare for the shelter’s opening before getting the keys to the newest location.
“I still haven’t heard a definite yes but I’m confident that’s where we’ll be opening,” she said.
Shelter manager Rob McVey says the Muks-Kum-Ol location on Braun St. is a good one.
The building has a security system, including cameras, which was on the society’s new-location checklist.
“It’s the ideal place, you can go in there and within a couple of days it would be ready to go,” said McVey.
The new location would operate for the same number of hours as in previous years, from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., and should be ready to go by Nov. 1 which is when the doors to the shelter have traditionally opened.
The society started looking into new locations earlier this year after its former location on Hall St. was made unsuitable because of renovations.
Part of the building had been converted into offices for society workers, a meeting room, and a community-use kitchen. Fire doors were installed, making it hard to keep an eye on activities, meaning worker safety issues.
The society had been looking for a rent-free location as it doesn’t get funding for leasing costs for the Extreme Weather Program from B.C. Housing.
“We aren’t expecting to pay any rent for the building but, again, I’ve learned not to be absolutely certain on anything that comes my way via government until the ink is dry,” said Sabo. “I’m 99 per cent sure on both — the location and the price.”
Sabo added if rent expenses do come up, it will mean a scale back in operating hours for the shelter.
“If we have rent/lease costs it will mean we won’t be able to be open either as long or often or both, for that matter,” she said.