The city is getting a second shelter against bad weather to better meet the needs of homeless people in the North Delta.
On Monday (November 22), Delta’s board received a report on Delta’s response to homelessness and the opening of a weather shelter in North Delta.
The city’s first shelter, located at Ladner United Church, funded by BC Housing and operated by Options Community Services, opened in 2017 and served dozens of people from November through March, providing a warm, dry place to sleep as well as breakfast, coffee, showers and laundry services.
When and where would open a similar facility to serve the homeless population of North Delta has been a topic of discussion since then.
Noting that the North Delta has more than double the population of the South Delta but no emergency shelters, the report says homeless people in the area have had to travel to facilities in Surrey, Richmond or Vancouver. to find shelter during extreme weather events.
That is expected to change in the coming weeks with the opening of a new weather shelter at New Hope Church (11838 88th Avenue). The facility, which will be operated by the Surrey-based Phoenix Society, is scheduled to open on December 1 with space for 15 guests amid COVID-19 public health restrictions.
The Phoenix Society currently operates the Little House Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Society’s Tsawwassen facility following the amalgamation of the two organizations in May of this year.
According to the report, the New Hope Church leadership team has gone to considerable effort and funding to ensure that the building can accommodate the refuge safely this winter, including installing a sidewalk and adjusting the use of space inside the church to accommodate pre-existing uses, including a day care center.
The city was asked to help support on-site security by committing to clear snow from the church parking lot, repairing a city-owned service pole and lighting in said parking lot (which, according to the report, is already completed) and to purchase and install a scissor door to separate program areas inside the building.
The city had provided $ 10,000 in seed funding for the Ladner Shelter, which was used to purchase mattresses, bedding, a washer and dryer and other essentials. The start-up costs for the North Delta Hut are expected to be “consistent or lower” than the Ladner Facility and will be paid within the city’s current social planning budget, along with the cost of snow removal.
Delta’s only weather shelter (so far) is located at 4960 48th Avenue, and has five beds available under COVID-related health regulations – up from nine before the pandemic. The shelter is open at night from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., November 1 to March 31, whenever severe weather response alerts are issued by the Homelessness Services Association of BC.
Alerts are triggered by extreme weather events including precipitation that makes it difficult or impossible for the homeless to stay dry, sleet / freezing rain, snow accumulation, strong sustained winds, even temperatures or feeling like 0 C or less, rainfall of at least 50mm over a 24 hour period, and / or storm surges or other flooding conditions.
The report notes that under the Assistance to Shelter Act, Delta Police have the authority to transport a person at risk of injury during an extreme weather event to a shelter, and the Delta Animal Shelter will take care of it. also free pets while their owners are in temporary shelter.
For more information, visit delta.ca/community-culture/social-planning/shelters-delta.
For more information on emergency supports and community services in Delta, the city posted the You matter to Delta Pocket Guide. The guide, last updated in July, is available at delta.ca/community-culture/social-planning/social-services-infrastructure.