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Proposed shelter needs momentum

Salvation Army asks for council’s support for homeless shelter facility awaiting provincial funding

As the Salvation Army struggles to meet the needs of Cranbrook's less fortunate without a permanent homeless shelter, city council is affirming its support for the project and urging BC Housing to approve the facility.

The Salvation Army's Captain Kirk Green wrote to council earlier this month explaining the difficulties the church faces while it waits for funding for the $16 million emergency shelter and transitional housing project.

“We are facing an epidemic of demand,” wrote Capt. Green. “The current temporary winter shelter services we provide does not come near to managing the immense need in the community.”

Capt. Green cited three recent instances where the church was unable to help people in the community who need supportive housing.

“In each instance, safe, secure and affordable supportive housing could have been the starting point to recovery and unfortunately in each incident we were limited to partial and patchwork solutions,” he wrote.

The proposed homeless shelter would house 80 people and provide services such as addictions counselling, anger management and life skills programming.

There would be housing for overnight stays, short-term units and long-term units for single people and families. It would be built behind the Salvation Army church and thrift store on Slater Road.

But the project has been waiting for funding approval from BC Housing since October 2011.

Each community in the Regional District of East Kootenay has come together to pledge $260,00 for the project, including a $68,000 contribution from Cranbrook. Council also agreed in October 2011 to waive development cost charges of $138,000 for the shelter.

On Monday, March 18, Mayor Wayne Stetski point forward a motion that council send a letter to BC Housing, “restating our support for the project and asking the question in terms of where this fits on BC Housing’s priority list,” he said. Council unanimously agreed to send the letter.