It’s going to be awhile yet before the Ksan Society can craft a plan to move its extreme weather shelter from the 4400 Block of Lakelse Ave. in downtown Terrace to the former Elks Hall on Tetrault St. on the southside.
Although the social service agency has purchased the building, it has applied for a grant from the Prince George-based Northern Development Initiative Trust, which maintains a program that can provide up to $500,000, so it can renovate the structure.
The purchase was financed by the society’s financial institution, said society executive director Amanda Owens.
A purchase price was not disclosed but when for sale, listings pegged the cost of the structure, built in 1960, and the .5 acres on which it sits at $950,000.
Owens said the search for a new home for the Turning Points shelter, described as ‘low barrier’ permitting people who have been drinking or taking drugs, was made necessary to fit the Ksan’s work.
“The need from the community is there, and the want from Ksan as an organization is there,” said Owens.
Turning Points has a rated capacity of 20 people and that won’t change when a move does take place but that is not to say, at some time, the agency won’t seek to house more people, she added.
“Funding to increase capacity would just have to be negotiated with the provincial government,” Owens continued.
Speaking to Terrace city council in August to provide a broad outline of the Elks Hall purchase and plans, Owens said the demand for services at the current Turning Points location on the 4400 Block of Lakelse Ave. has outstripped its size.
Since Ksan purchased the Lakelse Ave. location for its Turning Points service and opened it up in 2016, demand for accommodation and also meals and basic services has grown “astronomically”.
“From 10 people a day on average we’re now averaging 40 people a day,” said Owens.
Owens said the Elks Hall, at 5,800 square feet, approximately five times the current Turning Point spot, will provide Ksan with far more space to handle demand.