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Coquitlam last hope for homeless shelter by winter
Rob Thiessen is hoping the city of Coquitlam will come to the aid of the region's homeless before the cold, wet weather sets in this fall.
Thiessen, managing director of the Hope for Freedom Society, would like to see the temporary bridge shelter program running at one of Coquitlam's churches but time is short.
Oct. 1 is the usual date for opening the temporary shelter, which rotated through five churches in the Tri-Cities for several years until it found a temporary home at a Port Coquitlam church.
But Thiessen acknowledged he doesn't have a lot of time to get Coquitlam council's approval for the shelter project even though a Coquitlam church has come forward to host the temporary homeless shelter, and volunteers are ready to work.
Moving the shelter poses some difficulties but Thiessen is confident it would work. "That would require the least amount of change, wouldn't require busing, could be same neighbourhood and provide security for buggies and bikes," Thiessen said,
He's still surprised PoCo turned down the shelter that was so effective in getting people off the streets.
In July, PoCo council voted against renewing the temporary use permit for the shelter at Northside Grace Church after people complained about drug use in the area, a claim Thiessen disputes, stating the people involved weren't shelter users.
Meanwhile, an orientation meeting is planned for Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. for volunteers wishing to work morning (5:45 to 7:45 a.m.) and evening (9 to 11 p.m.) shifts when the shelter opens. The meeting will be held at St. Andrew's United Church at 2318 St. Johns St., Port Moody,