On the first day of Spring, Prince Rupert’s extreme weather shelter announced it is extending its winter hours until May 31.
Like many seasonal shelters, the Third Avenue West location was initially scheduled to close for the season on March 31, but funding from the Prince Rupert Aboriginal Homelessness Committee is keeping its doors and beds open to the city’s homeless for two additional months.
“We know that we have a need for a shelter. We’ve been having really, really high numbers. Twenty-five people a night on average,” Christine White, the executive director for the North Coast Transition Society (NCTS), said.
The shelter has 25 beds. At an average of 25 people a night, the service is regularly at maximum capacity.
“That’s a lot of people. If we close the shelter down, where are they going to go?”
White said NCTS is working to find a sponsor or funding to keep the temporary shelter going until a permanent solution is available.
Meanwhile, on March 21, BC Housing is sponsoring a homeless count in 12 B.C. cities, including Prince Rupert. The morning of, White said the people surveyed so far were willing and happy to help.
“Good for BC Housing for collecting that input, so that moving forward, you can get it right and address the needs that the homeless population and those at risk of homelessness are facing,” White said.
The extreme weather shelter first opened on Nov. 23, 2017, with 25 beds for people in Prince Rupert who have nowhere to stay. The opening of the shelter followed a pop-up protest outside Prince Rupert city hall. The group of tents, known as Unity City, stayed up for a little more than two weeks to provide a shelter and address the city’s homeless situation.
The extreme weather shelter’s hours will stay the same at 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., with the exception of Sundays when the location at 328 Third Avenue West will open at 4 p.m. White recommends people interested in donating to the shelter call 250-622-2472 to see what is needed most.