An extreme weather emergency shelter for women is being planned for the Cowichan Valley. (File photo)

Extreme weather shelter for women moving forward in Duncan

To be located in facility near MacAdam Park

Plans are underway that could see an extreme weather shelter for women set up in Duncan.

The United Way and the Cowichan Coalition for Homelessness and Affordable Housing are working towards placing the shelter in the former Charles Hoey school on Castle Place.

The Cowichan Valley school district has already granted use of the school, located close to McAdam Park, for the shelter and the partners have identified a lead operator capable and willing to run the facility

BC Housing is also advocating for the project, but government officials have indicated that the shelter can be for women only and not children because the Ministry of Children and Family Development has its own process to house homeless women and their children.

Signy Madden, executive director of the United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island, said two homeless counts in the Valley in 2017 identified an average of 23 women who are absolutely homeless in the area, and statistics show many of them are not using the Valley’s Warmland Shelter because they don’t feel safe in its predominantly male environment.

Earlier this week, the City of Duncan turned down a controversial request from the United Way and the coalition to allow for a temporary daytime warming station for the homeless at the field house in McAdam Park.

The city cited a number of reasons for its refusal to house the warming station in its park, including that the field house doesn’t have hot water and funding for the warming station was not in place, but also acknowledged there was significant opposition to the plan from the park’s neighbours.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

Madden said the fact that the extreme emergency shelter would be only for women, and that it would likely not hold more than 20 clients at a time, means that the shelter shouldn’t have the same issues and concerns for the neighbours as the warming station.

“There will be staff on site, and if the clients are not able to abide by the shelter’s rules, they wouldn’t be able to stay there,” Madden said.

“I hope the community will be understanding of the need for this shelter.”

Duncan Mayor Phil Kent said he doesn’t know if the extreme weather shelter will receive the same negative response from many of the neighbours as the warming centre proposal did.

“But I do know that this extreme weather shelter would be a completely different operation than what was proposed for the warming centre,” he said.

“As well, the field house in McAdam Park was not set up properly to handle a daytime centre, while the Charles Hoey school facility just needs some minor adjustments to be an extreme weather shelter for women.”

Madden said that while funding is falling into place for the shelter, BC Housing will not provide start-up and administration fees, and have indicated that extreme weather initiatives need to be community-driven, with financial support for them coming from the community.

She said another $9,000 is needed, so requests have been made to the City of Duncan, the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Municipality of North Cowichan to each contribute $3,000 to the shelter.

North Cowichan decided to grant the $3,000 request at its meeting on Dec. 20, while the next local government meetings in Duncan and the CVRD in which funding decisions can be made are not until the new year.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Renovated Lake Cowichan town hall will include emergency operations centre

Upgrade project expected to be complete within months

Business notes: Realtors raise $10,000 for Nourish Cowichan

The latest from Cowichan’s business community

North Cowichan mayor answers questions about new RCMP detachment

The current building went up in 1980, when there were 30 people working there.

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Most Read