BC Housing contract awarded to Courtenay church for extreme weather warming shelter service

St. John The Divine will operate as an extreme weather warming shelter all winter

St. John the Divine Church, 579 5th Street Courtenay, will be a warming centre for those in need throughout the 2022-2023 winter season. Google Maps photo

St. John the Divine Parish, in partnership with Nicole Morrison of NM Consulting and Outreach Service, has been awarded the BC Housing contract that allows them to collectively activate a temporary extreme weather warming shelter between now and April 15, 2023.

The shelter is located at St. John the Divine Church at 579 5th St. in Courtenay. A full inspection by the City of Courtenay fire department facilitated the approval of this facility for overnight temporary shelter use.

When open, the capacity is 30 mats/cots and the hours of operation will be from 8 p.m.- 8 a.m., unless otherwise posted. On-site services for shelter for clientele will be co-ordinated by Morrison, and delivered by Community Cares Peer Outreach and other key partners.

“This is great news – fantastic,” said Morisson, who will be responsible for the activation of the warming shelter. “I will be making the call based on the protocol for the contract.”

The following weather conditions and factors may be considered when recommending opening of a temporary extreme weather shelter:

• low temperatures with rainfall that makes it difficult or impossible for homeless people to remain dry

• sleet/freezing rain

• snow accumulations

• sustained high winds

• temperatures at or below zero Celsius

Feedback from clientele may also be considered.

“For some, heaven is simply a warm meal and a safe space for the night, and we are so glad that with this contract in place we can now help to provide more of this in the Comox Valley,” said Morrison. “A big thank you to the members of the unhoused community for trusting us with your well-being and safety.”

The shelter was open during the storm, on Nov. 29. Morisson said they received 25 people through the night.

“I think with the increasing numbers with the Pidcock Shelter, I think that helped as well to get people inside for the night.”

Morrison said there is an ongoing need for donations of winter clothing, and other essentials.

“We are always looking for donations of warm coats, clothing and blankets, because when they do get up in the morning, they do have to go back out into the weather,” she said. “Also, first-aid supplies. We are always looking for survival gear, but people never think about first-aid supplies and that is something we provide all the time. Ointments, cleaning (supplied) and all that. So I did put a call out on our social media page for anyone who wanted to donate – first-aid kits, or just bandages and stuff, we can always use those.”

Anyone with donations can either reach out to Morisson on the Community Cares Peer Outreach Facebook page, or drop it off at St. John The Divine Church, after 8 p.m.

Morrison, St. John the Divine Parish and Community Cares Peer Outreach would like to thank BC Housing and the following organizations that worked together to support this initiative:

– CV Coalition to End Homelessness

– Comox Valley Emergency Program

– Comox Valley Regional District

– City of Courtenay

– K’ómoks First Nation

– Town of Comox

– Village of Cumberland

Comox ValleyHomelessnessSevere weather

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