Christine White, executive director of the North Coast Transition Society, one May 21, 2020, shows the new shower and wash room facilities that are now available to the Prince Rupert homeless population for use. (Photo: K-J MIllar/The Northern View)

$11.8 million provincial investment to stabilize Prince Rupert homeless

More space and new showers at temporary shelter allows for safe distancing and social protocols

The Prince Rupert Homeless Shelter is up for new digs and a new moniker.

The good news of the ‘Crane’s Crossing’ purchase, formerly known as Raffles Inn, announced jointly by the Province and BC Housing is an answer to the plight of the City’s homeless and vulnerable population needing a permanent base.

The purchase and sale of the property, located at 1080 Third Ave., announced on May 16, cost $1.654 million. Renovations, to upgrade the facilities to become supportive housing with an emergency shelter, are estimated to be at the $9 million mark. The total indenture by the Province will be $11.8 million in the project which comes from the Supportive Housing Fund. This investment will stabilize the homeless shelter which will have moved three times since it’s inception in 2017.

READ MORE: Welcome home – again

The new property has already undergone significant work, with the previous owner, Five Eight Investments Ltd., remediating existing asbestos and completing various other repairs to the location since 2019. Any further remediation found to be required will be completed during the major renovation, BC Housing said.

A fire damaged the basement of the building in April and BC Housing is currently working through the insurance claim with the sellers.

“This will not delay our construction timeframe in providing much-needed housing to Prince Rupert’s most vulnerable population. We are committed to moving forward with this project and will provide the housing needed as soon as possible,” BC Housing said.

In the meantime, a new portable shower unit which contains bathrooms and hand washing sinks has been installed at the temporary home of the shelter in the Fisherman’s Hall on Fraser Street.

The shower unit arrived last Thursday and was up and running on the Victoria Day weekend after the City issued the permits, Christine White, Executive Director of the North Coast Transition Society said. The NCTS manages operations of the shelter which has just extended it’s hours to 20 per day allowing the hygiene facilities to be easily utilized. Shower use time limits of 20 minutes are allocated which permits up to six shower users per hour.

Previously discussed renovations to install showers and washrooms into the building on Fraser street, could not be supported due to the aged infrastructure and plumbing. With the shelter’s lease being a temporary one, the shower trailer and portable facilities were the best cost efficient solution, White said.

READ MORE: UPDATED: Homeless shelter concerns

The shelter will re-locate to the new Cranes Crossing once renovations are compete, which BC Housing hopes will begin in fall 2020. A contractor has not yet been secured to complete the necessary work. The shelter portion of the building is expected to open in early 2021, with the supportive homes ready by fall 2021.

The name Cranes Crossing was chosen to segue with other buildings and housing programs run by the NCTS, such as the Ravens Keep, Robins Place, and Eagles Landing. The name Cranes Crossing is quite apt due to the location at the five corners, White said.

Once up and running Crane’s Crossing will have up to 48 supportive units and space for 35 temporary emergency beds.

“(Crane’s Crossing) will provide residents with 24/7 on-site staff and support services, including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services and opportunities for volunteer work,” BC Housing said.

K-J Millar | Journalist 
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Shower trailer on May 21, 2020 for use of the Prince Rupert homeless population is up and running at the temporary shelter location until the new Cranes Crossing shelter is renovated and ready to go. (Photo:K-J Millar/The Northern View)

New shower and washroom facilities in a trailer at the new temporary site of the Prince Rupert Homeless Shelter. The new hygiene facilities are much welcomed and well used the guests of the shelter. Twenty minute limits are in place, so up to six showers per hour are available per hour. The shelter has increased it’s hours to 20 hours per day to accommodate the local needs. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

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