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BC Housing confirms long-awaited lease signed for emergency shelter in Salmon Arm

Shelter to open in early January 2023, Canadian Mental Health Association training staff
This was a camp where people were living rough in 2019 during cold conditions on the current site of the new section of the Trans-Canada Highway at the west end of Salmon Arm. (File photo)

BC Housing has confirmed a lease has been signed for an emergency shelter site in Salmon Arm.

The lease is for four months and the shelter is expected to open in early January, said BC Housing Communications.

BC Housing noted the Canadian Mental Health Association, Shuswap Revelstoke, which was named as the service provider in July 2022, is working as quickly as it can to recruit and train staff in order to get the space open.

The number of beds has not yet been finalized, said BC Housing, but it might be higher than what was offered by the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Emergency Shelter.

That shelter offered a total of 16 beds: 12 designated for men and four for women.

The Salvation Army announced in May 2022 it would no longer be operating an emergency shelter. BC Housing, along with its community partners, has been searching for an appropriate site since then.

City councillor Louise Wallace Richmond, chair of the city’s social impact advisory committee, provided her response.

“We are grateful for the work and dedication of CMHA and the Salvation Army in supporting vulnerable people. Community members wishing to support this work can volunteer at the warming centre at the Salvation Army Lighthouse. Donations are also accepted.”

She also said city bylaw services, the fire department and the RCMP continue to work with community partners in keeping people experiencing homelessness as safe as possible in extreme winter conditions.

“Both the warming centre and the overnight shelter operations are critical community services, and we thank BC Housing for its funding commitment as work continues on a longer-term permanent solution.”

Further information is expected from BC Housing within a week. CMHA was not able to comment yet.

Read more: Search underway for shelter location in Salmon Arm for people without homes

Read more: People without homes in Salmon Arm to get relief from cold with Salvation Army Café

Read more: As temperatures plummet, showers at warming centre in Salmon Arm appreciated

Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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