Parksville’s temporary extreme weather shelter closes early

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An extreme cold weather shelter set up in a Parksville church has closed earlier than planned.

The shelter hosted by Knox United Church, in partnership with BC Housing, was planned to remain open until Jan. 10, but closed earlier this week.

“It was also emphasized, all over again, that many of those needing shelter have multiple and complex needs, including needing mental health and substance use support, and trauma-informed care, as well as safe, warm housing,” said Sherry Thompson, president of OHEARTS (Oceanside Homelessness Ecumenical Advocacy Response Team Society), in an email.

The society said it is thankful to Knox United Church and Oceanside Community Church, which hosted a shelter from Dec. 27–Jan. 2. As many as 12 people per night were housed and given healthy meals during the shelters’ period of operation.

Thompson said funding is available until March 31 if another host location can be found.

Knox United Church has offered to work with OHEARTS to create a round table discussion between churches, social agencies and the community action team to try and find a longer term solution, according to Thompson. The round table is being planned for some time in mid-February.

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