Spring may be late this year, but the closure of the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Emergency Shelter remains right on time.
Sunday, April 1 was the shelter’s final day of the season. The people staying overnight received breakfast Monday morning and then were on their way.
It’s not known where they are now staying.
Major Martin Ketteringham, who oversees the shelter, said the shelter’s contract with the government is from Nov. 1 to March 31, so the funding ends then.
As well, staffing was an issue.
“We had lost a few of our workers and everyone was stretched to the limit. We made the decision not to keep operating at this time,” he said.
The Salvation Army’s community services manager Dave Byers is off on leave following a surgery in January; he is expected to return on a part-time basis at the end of April.
The doors to the shelter would open at 6:30 p.m. seven days a week. People would receive a hot dinner as well as breakfast the next morning and then be out by 8 a.m. The shelter was open seven days a week.
Ketteringham said Salvation Army personnel will be meeting later this month to talk about the future of the shelter – not whether it will remain open, but what can be done better and what can be added to it. He said it will definitely be opening its doors on Nov. 1.
In a February interview, Ketteringham said it takes approximately $100,000 a year to run the shelter.
While part of its operating costs are covered by BC Housing, he says there is still a $30,000 shortfall which is covered by donations from the public to the Salvation Army.
He says the community is very generous.