After a years-long project to build a homeless shelter in Cranbrook was shelved, another has been set in motion. And fundraising proceeds from the first project are still available.
The space recently vacated by Core Fitness gym on 16th Street North will be the site of a new homeless shelter, and a zoning amendment to move the project forward was passed Monday, Dec. 7, by Cranbrook Council.
The proposed shelter, on the same property as the Community Connection Society of B.C., will feature 39 beds for men and 10 for women, separated by a dining room and separate washrooms. The proposal is a partnership between property owner Terry Segarty and BC Housing.
This is the second such proposal in the past decade to be get underway. In 2011, fundraising for a $16 million facility began, spearheaded by the Salvation Army and the Community Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies (CFKR) — then known as the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation.
Only recently, the Salvation Army confirmed that that original shelter project will not be proceeding. However, the $224,486 that was raised over the years is still being held by the CFKR, and will be specifically used for a new homeless shelter project.
The CFKR said in a press release that it “recognizes the well-documented need for a homeless shelter in Cranbrook, and is deeply honoured to hold $224,486.03 specifically for this purpose.”
The Salvation Army agreed that the funds “should be made available to those community organizations who, in partnership with BC Housing, are proceeding with a shelter project.”
Over the past years, the Foundation assisted the Salvation Army with fundraising and project planning costs for the homeless shelter project.
Above: The original Salvation Army homeless shelter concept, circa 2013.
The original 2011 project was to be built on land donated by the Salvation Army in Slaterville. The City of Cranbrook waived the development cost charges, and the Regional District of East Kootenay agreed to provide more than $100,000 to the cause. But it all hinges on B.C. government funding. Besides housing with 72 beds, the facility was to have a commercial kitchen and cafeteria, and space for amenities such as hair cuts, access to computers, counselling, and possibly a dentist’s office.
In 2017, the plan was revised, to feature a 12-person homeless shelter space as well as 36 transitional housing spaces, for both men and women.
While the Salvation Army project never got off the ground, the CFKR continues to steward the monies raised, and continues to monitor potential homeless shelter projects in the community.
Above: The revised Salvation Army homeless shelter concept, circa 2017.
“We would like to share our heartfelt appreciation with each and every person and business who has donated to this cause over the years, through such past events as the Stone Soup Challenge and the Miracle on Baker Street,” said Michele Bates, CFKR Board Chair.
“The Community Foundation looks forward to connecting with our community partners regarding this much needed community service, to support our community members who are experiencing homelessness.”
The City of Cranbrook recently received a housing needs report from a consultant that identified a number of housing-related gaps, one of which include people experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.
The report noted that 29 people experienced homelessness in 2018 and 63 in 2020 — a 117 per cent increase — and the lack of a permanent year-round shelter was identified as one of the city’s housing gaps.
“A permanent, year-round emergency shelter is an essential part of the housing continuum that can support individuals experiencing a short-term housing crisis at any time of the year. At a shelter, individuals and families can be supported during a short-stay, assessed and rapidly re-housed when appropriate housing can be matched for them,” reads the report.
Above: The location of the proposed new homeless shelter on 16th Street North.