Elizabeth Rochon

Elizabeth Rochon

STORY AND VIDEO: Transition Society turns focus to men’s shelter

The NCTS is focusing on developing a new men's shelter in the community to run alongside its existing women's services



Cold arctic winds blustered through the streets of Prince Rupert this past winter, leaving those without homes shivering and huddling for warmth. Without a designated shelter in Rupert, homeless men will continue to try and bundle up.

Rain, slush and even heavy snowfall has also burdened the homeless these past few weeks in what is normally a very wet, but snowless coastal city.

But it’s not just the elements that those living on the streets have to deal with. Other challenges may include substance abuse, physical abuse, lack of sanitary conditions, poverty and bad market conditions that make it tough to find work.

The support system is there for women and their children looking for a safe space to go when fleeing abuse due to the North Coast Transition Society (NCTS) and its bevy of programs offered to help with housing, homeless outreach and sexual and domestic violence.

The society even offers small, temporary apartment units. It also helps coordinate public transit for women in need.

But many feel that a purely female focused strategy is not enough in an area that boasts many men suffering from a lack of proper housing and living through impoverished conditions.

Since last year, the NCTS is acting from behind the scenes to get a brand new safe space available for both men and women by the NCTS and partner groups across the community.

It’ll take awhile to achieve, but they’re well on their way.

“We belong to a group of people that are working on trying to eradicate homelessness in the community and we’re coming together in a variety of ways,” said Christine White, executive director at the NCTS.

“We think we can really have an impact on the homeless in Prince Rupert.”

The society has hired a dedicated staff member, James McNish, its housing first project coordinator, to help with just that.

“I’m working to develop a new transitional house that would serve the homeless in Prince Rupert, especially the men in town,” McNish said.

“It’s a long way from becoming a reality but we’ve been working with other community groups to get their consultation on what a new transitional house or shelter would look like … It’s not an inexpensive project, but it’s really vital.”

The program is funded in part by the federal government and the society will seek more funds to continue the project past its current five month existence.

Last Wednesday, the NCTS celebrated International Women’s Day and coincidentally its own 36th anniversary and its fifth at its new multi-level location on Park Avenue.

Staff conducted tours through many different facilities of the building, like the support office, apartment bedrooms, Eagle’s Landing units for women and children, housing outreach and sexual abuse intervention offices, communal kitchen, Robin’s Place for family violence prevention and conference rooms. There is even a play room with a beautiful mural painted and donated generously by Prince Rupert artist Nicole Rudderham, which shows off First Nations culture and symbolic animals in a child-friendly art style.

Looking forward to 2017, White and the staff at the Transition Society will continue their efforts in providing a refuge for women, as well as reviewing options for homeless men.

“It’s frustrating because it does take time,” White said of the endeavour to build a new homeless shelter.

“But I just want people to know that these things are in the works and we’re trying our hardest to make them a reality.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local health authority maps are updated each week. The brown maps show the number of confirmed and active cases of COVID-19 for the week of Jan. 15 to 21, with the blue map showing cases over the past year. (Image supplied)
COVID-19 outbreak numbers increase at Acropolis and exposures are up in S.D. 52

Business COVID-19 safety plans are law, public needs to follow health protocols - Northern Health

Asher Hauknes shows his strength with Prince Rupert Gymnastics head coach Erin Hipkiss looking on Nov. 13. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Gymnastics Association benefits from Community Gaming Grant

Prince Rupert sports club to receive just less than $90,000 to build new facility

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue was dispatched to a boat fire on Jan. 21 at Fairview Marina. (Photo: supplied)
Boat fire under investigation

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attended boat fire at Fairview Marina

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Most Read