The mayor of Salmon Arm has confirmed that the homeless shelter funded by BC Housing will close permanently at the end of the month.
Mayor Alan Harrison said the Salvation Army-operated shelter was usually seasonal, but during the pandemic it operated year-round.
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“BC Housing is looking for another operator. The Salvation Army has done a fantastic job. They’ve been a really good provider,” Harrison said.
“The BC government would like harm reduction to be part of the criteria for shelters, so they’re looking at other providers.”
The closure is expected to leave the town of more than 19,000 without emergency short-term homeless accommodation services.
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Although the mayor is convinced that a new, better equipped shelter will open in the long term, he fears that there is an initial gap in services.
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“The building it’s currently in isn’t that good for a shelter. It’s an old barracks. So we’re looking forward to having a more modern shelter: a much better one for guests, one that can be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Harrison said.
“So I think in the long term it will actually be a good thing. But we are concerned in the short term that we won’t have a refuge in the summer months.
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Harrison hopes to see new lodging space open as soon as possible because he doesn’t want the city to be without lodging services next winter.
BC Housing was unable to comment on Tuesday and the local Salvation Army said no one was available for an interview on Tuesday.
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