Trail’s emergency shelter has a new coordinator on board who has made it her mission to secure the space as an ongoing resource in Greater Trail.
Marjie Hills was on hand with about 20 shelter workers Monday prepping the basement of the Salvation Army Church in East Trail for opening day Wednesday.
“If you have it, people will come,” said the social worker, noting the many changes for the space.
The positive response and support from the community last year allowed for the ad-hoc shelter committee to accumulate enough savings to hire on Hills to help further establish the centre.
The La Nina Extreme Weather Emergency Shelter operated for the first time last winter from Feb. 1 to March 21, opening up 37 times on nights when the temperature was expected to drop below freezing.
This year, the committee, sponsored by the United Church, has secured over $55,000 from BC Housing to keep the shelter open from 9 p.m. to 8 .am. until March 31, regardless of the weather forecast.
With a portion of funds Trail received from Columbia Basin Trust, five cots have been purchased for the facility, replacing mats that lined the floor last year.
The shelter has kept the six mats in case of emergency and also took in five mattresses from Columbia View Lodge.
“The shelter has to be reliably open so people give up a near homelessness situation to come,” said Nola Landucci, shelter director.
The facility now has 14 workers – two working a shift each night – who make sure those stopping in are comfortable.
Kate’s Kitchen will provide soup and snacks each night, the City of Trail has offered up “tokens” to individuals who’d like to stop into the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre for a shower, clothing essentials will be available if need be and hopefully further assistance for people leaving in the morning will be provided.
“We’re trying to find a place where people can go to if they need additional support,” said Hills, adding that discussions are in the works with FAIR.
Trail United Church diaconal minister Keith Simmons, who co-chairs the shelter committee, said this year will really give them a sense of how many Greater Trail people need the facility.
“It’s such a gift,” he said of the consistent hours of operation. “Now people will be able to say, ‘There is a place that I can go.’”
The shelter is always in need of more staff, who must go through a criminal record check, have completed an introduction first aid course and food safe as well as in-house training.
Those interested can leave a message at the United Church at 368-3225.