Just weeks into colder weather and five individuals have already knocked on the door of the temporary shelter in downtown Trail.
“Temporary” is the key mandate for La Nina Extreme Weather Shelter, which first opened as a short term refuge from winter elements six years ago in the basement of the Salvation Army Church.
For the last five years, the November to March service has operated under Career Development Services (CDS) auspices, an organization that offers much more than a night of warmth.
“Anyone that finds themselves homeless and looking for housing in Trail is referred to the Getting to Home Housing Facilitator,” explains Sheila Adcock, CDS’ program coordinator. “To get some help with obtaining housing and getting the necessary items needed to set up a home.”
Though the demographics vary in who is accessing the shelter, now located in the Community Inclusion Centre on Bay Avenue – patrons have one thing in common. They are in need of some immediate essentials and later on, basic housing goods.
And that’s where pretty much anyone in the community can help out through the donation of new and gently used everyday wares.
“We provide some of the essentials free of charge from the donations received at our Thrifty Treasures thrift store,” said Adcock. “And we put the word out to all of our community contacts if there is something needed that we don’t have such as beds and furniture items.”
Going into winter the shelter can use donations of some soft goods, including socks, gloves, hats, slippers and pajama pants for men and women.
“We also put together small bags of items for each shelter guest that include a tooth brush, toothpaste, comb/brush, deodorant, razors etc.,” she added. “And we are always looking for donations of these items for the shelter guests as well as the individuals we support in the Getting to Home project as well.”
Anyone wishing to contribute is encouraged to drop by the CDS Thrift Store at 1565 Bay Ave.
La Nina receives emergency funding for operations, meaning the six beds are only open from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. After that, the person is on their own until 9 p.m. rolls around.
“Trail does not have an ongoing year round shelter and therefore it is not open during the day,” Adcock clarified. “So individuals need to find warm and dry options to spend their days until they can return to the shelter.”
As well, the expectation is that anyone staying at the shelter commits to looking for housing as soon as possible.
“And not just look to stay 30 days and move onto the next shelter,” she added. “The Getting to Home housing facilitator meets with them to complete an intake form and works with each individual to develop a housing plan.”