Trail shelter remains open amid pandemic

The emergency shelter season usually ends March 31

Physical distancing is challenging enough for those who have four walls around them.

Imagine trying to keep up with pandemic measures when you don’t even have a roof over your head.

So it’s welcome news that the temporary shelter in downtown Trail – originally slated to close for the season on March 31 – has received provincial funding to stay open nightly until the end of June.

Depending upon how the COVID-19 contagion continues to evolve, this haven for the homeless may end up being funded to stay open even longer.

“Throughout the season we have consistently supported six to nine guests,” manager Sheila Adcock told the Trail Times.

“At minimum, I think it is important to continue to provide night time support for individuals, which includes a hot meal at night, breakfast and a big lunch for the day,” she said.

“We need to look at the issues they face during the day though.”

Every door is closed as businesses and agencies take their own coronavirus transmission precautions, meaning there are no amenity areas to spend the day out of the rain and cold, and no washrooms are available.

“It is a scary time for them (shelter patrons) as well,” Adcock said.

“They do not have all the information as they are not watching TV during the day or catching up on current affairs because they are stuck in survival mode.”

In these troubling times, however, Adcock says many individuals and funders are asking how they can help the city’s most vulnerable.

“We are looking at providing more food for individuals who are out in the elements,” she said. “As well, we are going to pick up some gift cards for anywhere they can get some hot coffee or food during the day.”

Further, the frontline workers are doing their best to ensure patrons have adequate warm and dry clothing and blankets.

“As an agency we are taking all precautions to ensure the safety of our staff as well as the individuals we serve,” said Adcock.

“And we are spending a lot of time decreasing fear and stress for individuals with complex issues.”

Managed under the auspices of Trail Association for Community Living, workers from downtown Trail’s Career Development Services are tasked with keeping the shelter up and running.

“We are hoping to set up a phone conference with some agencies around town to see who is doing what,” Adcock said.

“And how we can all come together to build some safety nets in the community for our most vulnerable citizens.”

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