Winter shelters to open thanks to B.C. funding

Salvation Army will operate both men's and women's shelters in Cranbrook starting November 1

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett (left) delivers $71

Homeless people in Cranbrook will have somewhere warm to stay this winter, after the provincial government provided $71,000 to the Salvation Army.

To mark Homelessness Action Week, B.C. Housing has sent the funding that will allow the Salvation Army to house a dozen men and women at its centre in Cranbrook throughout the winter.

Starting on November 1, the shelters will open for men, women and families. Men will be housed in the Salvation Army dining room, women in the church sanctuary. Families with children will be given private accommodation.

“A warm place to spend the night is a basic need that each person should be able to have. This year we are setting up the shelter so that we can provide the service for men, women, and children, offering a separate, secure area where they can feel safe and welcome. The provincial funding announcement to confirm we can proceed with our plans is a significant way to mark Homelessness Action Week this year in Cranbrook,” said Captain Kirk Green, Salvation Army Cranbrook.

Last winter, the Women’s Resource Centre provided shelter for women, but they are unable to continue the program.

The Salvation Army operated the women’s shelter until 2011, while Connect Church operated a men’s shelter downtown called The Refuge. That shelter closed down in 2011.

This will be the first winter that the Salvation Army operates both shelters, and Capt. Kirk said he expects to see more couples who want to be under the same roof.

The funding will come from BC Housing’s Extreme Weather Hazard Program, said Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

“As part of Homelessness Action Week, we’re providing provincial funding so that safe, secure shelter is available in Cranbrook this winter for people who have no other housing options during the coldest time of the year. The Salvation Army has an established history of providing valuable services to those in greatest need in our community, and we are grateful they can partner with us to continue this tradition,” said Bennett.