Capt. Sharon Tidd, Salvation Army Area Commander, says a few words at the 25th anniversary celebration at the Pidcock Shelter in Courtenay. Scott Stanfield photo

Capt. Sharon Tidd, Salvation Army Area Commander, says a few words at the 25th anniversary celebration at the Pidcock Shelter in Courtenay. Scott Stanfield photo

Courtenay shelter celebrates 25 years of serving marginalized individuals

The Salvation Army Pidcock Shelter celebrated 25 years of serving marginalized individuals in the Comox Valley, Sunday in Courtenay.

The house at 632 Pidcock Ave. began as men only but became co-ed in 2005 with 12 beds downstairs for men, and six upstairs for women. In December 2009, it added a mat program for the Extreme Weather Protocol from Nov. 1 to March 31 each year. An overnight stay included an evening meal and breakfast.

“We’re grateful for the leaders, and for the employees and the volunteers, past and present, and those that will join us in the future, who make it possible for us to offer this service to the Comox Valley community, and to those who are struggling in this community,” said Capt. Sharon Tidd, Salvation Army Area Commander. “How many people have come here and received shelter, and good meals, and care and compassion? Too many to name, but we’re grateful that God has placed us here and we have this opportunity to serve the broader community in this way. We’re looking forward to another 25 years.”

In 2017, BC Housing renovated the shelter, creating a new kitchen and extra space for more mats during the winter. The expansion included five private rooms which, as of 2020, have housed Pathway of Hope guests. With support from team members, these individuals work on goals in an effort to break generational cycles of crisis and poverty.

“That’s the desired end, that’s what we want to see,” Tidd said. “Currently, we have five Pathway of Hope individuals taking steps towards a better future.”

One of the individuals, Marnie, was on hand Sunday.

“My homelessness story comes from not being able to find proper care with a dog,” Marnie said. “I’m just so grateful to everybody.”

A sixth room in the Pathway of Hope program is nearly ready for occupancy.

Capt. Kevin Elsasser said the Salvation Army is here to help people, whether they’re looking for a bed or a mat, or for a personalized program with a goal.

Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard is grateful for the Salvation Army’s spirit and desire to help.

“We benefited as a whole community from their generosity,” she said. “I’ve seen changes in attitude over the years in what people need, what people deserve. That generosity is the key, and it’s opened up people’s hearts and minds to be more inclusive.”

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells commended the many organizations that have united to tackle the issue of homelessness. Provincially, he noted the 2017 addition of a mental health and addictions ministry.



reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Comox ValleyHomelessness