The former home of the Shuswap Grill and the McGuire Lake Congregate Living facility in Salmon Arm will be used to shelter vulnerable people, including those without homes, during the coronovirus pandemic. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

The former home of the Shuswap Grill and the McGuire Lake Congregate Living facility in Salmon Arm will be used to shelter vulnerable people, including those without homes, during the coronovirus pandemic. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

What’s the good news, 2020? McGuire Lake building secured for temporary housing

The Salmon Arm Observer looks back at some of the year’s positive stories

As 2020 draws to a close, the Salmon Arm Observer is looking back at some of the stories that reflect the positive work, activities and accomplishments that occurred throughout this challenging year.

The search for shelter in Salmon Arm for people who are vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, is reaping results.

Earlier in May, BC Housing reported the former McGuire Lake Congregate Living facility was part of a plan to provide temporary housing for people who are immunocompromised or otherwise at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“So far, BC Housing has secured three sites with 69 spaces where vulnerable people, including those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, can maintain physical distance during the COVID-19 pandemic…Up to 58 of these spaces will be at the former McGuire Lake Congregate Living Facility,” reads a May 21 statement from BC Housing.

The Salvation Army will operate the site and will move into the building in the coming weeks, once the site is adequately set up and all staff have been trained.

No definite opening date has been set yet.

Along with operating the McGuire Lake site, the Salvation Army will move its 16-bed Lighthouse Emergency Shelter into the McGuire Lake building. Although the Lighthouse shelter usually closes on March 31, this year it has remained open in response to COVID-19.

Read more: Seniors at Salmon Arm assisted living facility shocked by Oct. 1 eviction notice

Read more: BC Housing to open spaces in Salmon Arm for people homeless during pandemic

Salvation Army Lt. Joel Torrens emphasized the McGuire Lake facility is shelter space, not long-term housing.

BC Housing said more information will be provided if and when additional indoor sheltering sites are made available. As contracts get finalized for additional spaces, they will be listed on its website: www.bchousing.org/COVID-19/community-sites.

Along with these spaces, construction remains on schedule for 38 supportive units at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Third Street SW in Salmon Arm for people who are without homes. The complex is expected to be completed in the fall 2021.

Also underway are 67 units in two four-storey affordable rental buildings for families, seniors and people with disabilities, planned to be completed this winter.



newsroom@saobserver.net

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