Port Moody opens doors to homeless

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Tri-Cities homeless people have one more option in finding shelter from the cold.

Port Moody council on Tuesday adopted a bylaw amendment that allows a temporary shelter to operate up to 62 days in any one season, extending from October through March.

St. Andrew's United Church on St. Johns Street is scheduled to operate a temporary shelter in March and the bylaw amendment would allow the church to set up a shelter for a second month if the need arises.

"It's a bit of a safety net in case we run into difficulties in the future," said Hope for Freedom Society director Rob Thiessen. "It gives us some options down the road should we find ourselves in a position [where space for a shelter is not available]."

The Calgary Baptist Church in Coquitlam made room in November for the shelter, which has now moved on to Coquitlam Alliance Church. Port Coquitlam council approved an agreement this week that paves the way for the shelter to operate at Grace Church in January. It is scheduled to operate out of Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship in Coquitlam during February.

While the Grace Church shelter in PoCo has drawn heated opposition from neighbouring residents, Port Moody received a lone letter in opposition.

"Many of the residential properties in this quiet neighbourhood have seniors and young families living in them," stated the letter. "The rezoning will undoubtedly have a very significant negative impact to their lives."

But Mayor Mike Clay pointed out that the shelter has already been operating in their neighbourhood for the past six years.

"That alone tells me it must be doing OK so they should not notice any difference in their neighbourhood," Clay said.


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