Shelter funding slashed for this winter

Trail's La Nina Extreme Weather Emergency Shelter will be opening its doors November 1, but on a greatly reduced budget.

Housing the homeless during the winter months will be a financial challenge this year now that BC Housing has granted a Trail shelter half its previously secured funding.

La Nina Extreme Weather Emergency Shelter operated on a budget of $50,000 last year but not this time around, according to Tracy Fischer, a financial manager for Trail Association for Community Living (TACL).

Career Development Services (CDS),  governed by TACL, will now operate the shelter in the basement of the United Church on Pine Avenue.

The facility opens Nov. 1 and welcomes people in from the cold until the end of March during the hours of 9 p.m. until 8 a.m.

But to work within its tight budget, the two employees that man the warm quarters will lock it up if no one shows up by 1 a.m.

Taking over the management side of the shelter from the church was a natural progression for the organization that helps individuals with barriers as it already ran a Getting to Home initiative with the help of the Greater Trail Community Skills Centre.

With one-time only federal Homelessness Partnership Strategy (HPS) funding, the two organizations were successful in helping 60 adults and 16 dependent children secure housing last year.

In many cases, these individuals were supported to access other services helping them to improve housing stability and to begin exploring options for employment.

Sourced by Sheila Adcock of CDS, staff also worked with owners of rental properties both to improve the availability of safe housing and to assist landlords concerned about renting to vulnerable tenants.

Many of these individuals formerly frequented the shelter and with help have found a home.

“It’s an incredible experience, it’s an eye opener to understand that there are that many people out there that actually need assistance,” said CDS’ Teresa Crockett, an employment councillor who acts as the shelter’s administrative assistant.