A temporary overnight warming centre has opened at the Salvation Army Church in Courtenay. Scott Stanfield photo

A temporary overnight warming centre has opened at the Salvation Army Church in Courtenay. Scott Stanfield photo

Warming centre in Courtenay open until April 1

A new temporary overnight warming centre has opened in the basement of the Salvation Army Church at 1580 Fitzgerald Ave. in Courtenay.

Some of the Strengthening Communities funding that was awarded to the Comox Valley enabled the Community Cares Warming Centre to open Friday, Jan. 21. The overnight program runs seven days a week from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. until the morning of April 1.

Due to the cold front in December, the community was able to access a new stream of provincial funding from Emergency Management BC (EMBC) to implement a temporary drop-in space for the unhoused to warm-up overnight. The Comox Valley Regional District advocated for the funding. When the extreme weather passed, and emergency funding was no longer available, local agencies and partners continued to seek opportunities and connections to continue the service.

The Community Cares Warming Centre offers a safe space for the unsheltered and precariously housed to find relief from inclement weather, and to receive home comforts and connection during the wee hours of the night. It also provides a place to sit, connect with peers and outreach, have warm beverages and food, and access a washroom throughout the night for up to 30 unsheltered residents. Whereas the Connect centre and Pidcock House shelter offer overnight cots or beds for sleeping, the new centre will operate as a warming centre, which does not provide sleeping accommodations. Operating the centre will be the community outreach and peer teams that managed the short-term EMBC funded centre.

Community partners are continuously working together to address the needs of the homeless population and are advocating for longer term solutions.

For more information on the Community Cares Warming Centre, contact Community Cares Outreach at (250) 702-8896.

Connect and Pidcock are supported by BC Housing’s Extreme Weather Response program, which funds community-based services to provide temporary emergency shelter spaces. It provides time-limited funding to communities where there is not sufficient emergency shelter capacity. The program runs from October to the end of March of every year.

To check current shelter capacity and activation, call Connect at (250) 218-3975 or the Pidcock shelter at (250) 338-2533.

Comox ValleyHomelessness