BC Housing officials will be presenting to city council on Monday, Dec. 5, to provide an update on the proposed shelter project.

BC Housing to provide update on proposed homeless shelter

Proposed shelter yet to open nearly two years after city approved land rezoning

It has been nearly two years since Cranbrook city council approved a rezoning application to permit homeless shelter operations at a property near the downtown core.

Following that approval, the proverbial ball has been back in BC Housing’s court to conduct the necessary renovations needed to transform the building space to accommodate roughly 40 sleeping pods and associated infrastructure.

What’s the holdup?

A delegation from BC Housing will be presenting to Cranbrook city council to provide an update on the proposal, according to the Dec. 5 city council agenda package.

However, in September, a BC Housing spokesperson noted the crown corporation is reviewing renovation options at the 209 16thAve N site, while also exploring other potential locations.

“BC Housing is working hard to support people experiencing homelessness in Cranbrook,” reads a statement issued by BC Housing. “We continue to engage with the City and local stakeholders to help address the shortage in the community. We understand that businesses and stakeholders in Cranbrook are concerned about the impact homelessness is having on their community, and we want to work together with the City on these issues.”

Newly-elected Cranbrook mayor Wayne Price recently met with Murray Rankin, the province’s minister responsible for housing, and said the two had a productive conversation.

Price said the main focus was “re-establishing relationships” and finding common ground with provincial policies and efforts to address local housing challenges.

“Certainly going forward, once we look at the issues, if we’ve got some ideas…maybe some pilot projects that are being kicked around, the minister was really receptive,” said Price, in a recent interview with the Townsman.

One possible reason that the shelter project remains delayed is that BC Housing is reportedly eyeing the adjacent lot for a potential supported housing development, according to correspondence from the Community Connections Society of Southeast B.C. to city council.

That same correspondence also included a request to the municipality for a land donation to support an affordable housing development coupled with a daycare facility. City staff were directed to discuss it amongst senior management before approaching the non-profit for a broader conversation.

The Travelodge has been in operation as a shelter for temporary stays for the last two years. It includes 45 shelter beds and an additional eight nightly drop-in beds, operated by the Community Connections Society of Southeast BC.

Since April, the shelter has provided services to 203 unique individuals and provided 11,500 nightly stays.

Thousands of meals have been provided to shelter clients and drop-in guests, while additional services include providing clothing and safe supply kits.