Courtenay shelter prepares for colder weather

With inclement winter weather on the horizon, the demand for emergency shelter space increases.

With inclement winter weather on the horizon, the demand for emergency shelter space increases.

The Pidcock Shelter at 632 Pidcock Ave. in Courtenay contains 15 extreme weather spaces, in addition to beds.

When the Extreme Weather Response team issues an extreme weather alert, floor mats will be placed in a multi-purpose room to accommodate homeless individuals.

“It’s very, very tight but it’s much drier and much safer, and we’re looking after our people in a whole lot better way than if they’re sleeping outside,” says Salvation Army community ministries director Brent Hobden. “It’s certainly not ideal but it does work.”

The shelter contains 18 beds, 14 supplied by BC Housing and four by the Sally Ann. When the 18 beds are filled, the shelter then turns to the mats.

Hobden said Pidcock turned away 99 people last month. Just one week into November, the shelter has already refused admission to more than 20 people.

In another initiative, the Dawn to Dawn: Action on Homelessness Society is seeking donations of trailers and sleeping bags to help homeless individuals as temperatures drop. Gently used or new sleeping bags can be dropped off at AIDS Vancouver Island at 355 Sixth St. from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday.

Trailers will be used to house people at Maple Pool Campground in Courtenay. The priority population is vulnerable seniors.

For questions about trailers, call Grant Shilling at 250-218-3136.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com