The Salvation Army appreciates the provincial government and BC Housing for providing air conditioning for the Pidcock emergency shelter in Courtenay. The unit was installed last week.
“It’s a great relief for our guests, and it is a very welcoming addition for our staff and volunteers,” said Brent Hobden, community ministries director, Salvation Army Comox Valley Ministries.
He said shelter numbers do not typically drop from winter to summer. Year-round, the number of nightly guests are almost always between 30 and 35 at the shelter in west Courtenay.
BC Housing increased Pidcock’s capacity in March, 2020 when COVID first hit, and has committed to continuing to fund extra beds until November when the EWR (Extreme Weather Response) beds typically become accessible.
Hobden is saddened to see an increasing number of seniors needing to access emergency shelter services.
“While it is wonderful that we are able to provide food, shelter and casework services, it is a sad reality that more and more of our senior population is finding it impossible to afford even the basics that many people in our community take for granted,” he said.
Pidcock contains a total of 36 beds. There are six beds, three mats and 12 transition rooms for ladies. For men, there are 12 beds, nine mats and three transition rooms.
“Unfortunately we do have turn-aways (at the door),” Hobden said. “Often, all of our men’s beds are full and we have no choice but to turn people away. It sometimes happens that all of our beds for ladies are full and we turn women away as well, but it’s not very often.”
At its last meeting, Courtenay council approved a one-year lease renewal to continue operations at the Connect Warming Centre at 685 Cliffe Ave.
The facility — which supports individuals experiencing homelessness — is intended to serve as a temporary location while staff and council seek permanent funding for a purpose-built shelter.
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