Trail shelter set to open this week

The La Nina Extreme Weather Emergency Shelter is slated to open in the Trail United Church Nov. 15

When November drizzle turns to snow, the local shelter will be ready to offer the homeless a little comfort for the night.

The La Nina Extreme Weather Emergency Shelter is slated to open in the Trail United Church Nov. 15, after the local organization that runs the service was awarded funding for six beds each night until the end of March.

BC Housing released $1.6 million this week to fund over 1,000 temporary spaces in 90 communities across the province, although each community decides what weather conditions warrant an alert and how many spaces to activate on a given night.

Last year, 25 people (17 male and eight female) were offered a warm place to rest their heads from 9 p.m. until 8 a.m. by outreach workers at the Career Development Services (CDS)

However, one or more nights of warm bed in a safe place isn’t the ultimate goal – finding a more permanent fix, is.

Shelter users are hooked up with a CDS support worker through the Getting to Home project, an initiative which started in 2012 that now employs one part time person to help secure housing by working with landlords to ensure needs are met.

The support workers vouches for the individuals and helps them navigate the system to look for a housing solution for those who wind up at the shelter for one reason or another.

Shelter users include those with mental health challenges, court restrictions and drug and alcohol conditions.

La Nina first opened its doors in 2011 with support from the Trail United Church and the Salvation Army, with backing from BC Housing to house the homeless only when the temperature dropped to -10 C at night.

The responsibility was handed off to CDS, a non-profit organization that connects clients and business partners together to provide mutual benefit while enriching lives, workplaces and Kootenay communities