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Salvation Army’s Lighthouse shelter in Salmon Arm sees demand rise as temperature drops

Shelter not overflowing, organization could use men’s and women’s gloves, women’s underwear
The Lighthouse Shelter, which opened on Nov. 10 this year, has seen about seven to nine people per night during the week prior to Dec. 13. It can house 10. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

So far so good at the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Emergency Shelter.

Lieutenant Joel Torrens said Dec. 13 that the shelter, which can take a total of eight men and two women currently, based on pandemic protocols, has not been overflowing.

Not everyone chooses to stay at a shelter for a variety of reasons, he said, noting that’s not unusual.

He said one night recently four women needed a place to stay so a couple of couches were put into use.

“Last week we were pretty consistently between seven and nine. We haven’t been totally full for the last week, but one night we went a little over,” he said, noting demand increases as the temperature drops. “It’s going to get a little bit dicey but we’ll see where we’re at with things.”

He said demand is about on par with 2020. Last year the Salvation Army was able to utilize the McGuire Lake building but the availability ended this fall.

Torrens said sometimes people have to be turned away if they come after the cut-off point; the doors at the Lighthouse shelter are locked at 11:30 p.m.

With the flooding, the state of the highways has created obstacles for some people who are on their way to other areas, he said.

Asked if the Salvation Army is in need of anything at this time, he said they’re doing well for most types of clothing but have a shortage of women’s underwear as well as men’s and women’s gloves.

Torrens said donations in the Christmas kettles are always welcome and, if people aren’t able to donate, just a little conversation with the person standing by the kettle is always appreciated.

“I know not everyone is going to give, but a warm word goes a long way on a cold night.”

He also said volunteers are always appreciated and must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Regarding the new CMHA/BC Housing building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Third Street SW for people who are without homes or at risk of becoming homeless, Torrens described it as “incredible.”

“The people staying there, we can see it in their body language, we can see it in their smiles. They’re really thriving,” he said. “Having a place to call their own and the peace of mind that comes with that.”

Read more: VIDEO: Third building in Salmon Arm’s affordable housing project opens doors

Read more: Lighthouse Shelter in Salmon Arm opens in former location with reduced capacity
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They’re really thriving.

A place to call their own and the peace of mind that comes with that.

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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