A couple of clients took a break from the cold in January on opening day of the Connect Warming Centre. File photo

A couple of clients took a break from the cold in January on opening day of the Connect Warming Centre. File photo

Courtenay council approves lease extension for Warming Centre

Courtenay council has approved a one-year lease extension and continued in-kind support for the Connect Warming Centre at 685 Cliffe Ave.

The centre has been providing services to vulnerable individuals experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness since it opened in January. Its core purpose is to provide

a place to escape cold weather during the day.

The City had originally entered into an agreement with the Comox Valley Transition Society — a member agency of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness – to operate the centre from Jan. 13 to March 31.

In-kind support from the City totals $12,600 for 2020.

“We are grateful for the one-year License to Occupy as it gives us the ‘breathing room’ needed to continue to offer these important services, but to also think and plan for the future,” coalition co-ordinator Andrea Cupelli said.

There were more than 4,000 visits to the centre and the shower program that ran from April to July.

“I think it’s really filling a need,” Coun. Wendy Morin said at the Oct. 19 council meeting. She noted that complaints about loitering from downtown businesses have dried up since the centre opened. “The downtown seems a lot quieter and calmer.”

Coun. Doug Hillian has also received positive feedback from businesses since it opened.

The Connect Warming Centre has expanded services and hours of operation in response to emerging needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, the centre has provided public health information to clients in an effort to enhance understanding of health orders and transmission precautions.

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