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Coquitlam churches get OK for homeless shelters

The city of Coquitlam this week granted two temporary use permits to churches to convert into overnight homeless shelters, for a month each, this winter under the Tri-Cities cold/wet weather mat program, which rotates between Port Coquitlam and Port Moody churches. - tri-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
The city of Coquitlam this week granted two temporary use permits to churches to convert into overnight homeless shelters, for a month each, this winter under the Tri-Cities cold/wet weather mat program, which rotates between Port Coquitlam and Port Moody churches.
— image credit: tri-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Three Coquitlam churches will serve as overnight homeless shelters as well as places of worship this winter.

On Monday, city council granted temporary use permits — good for two years each — to Coquitlam Alliance Church on Spuraway Avenue and Calvary Baptist Church on Regan Avenue.

Another Coquitlam church taking part in the rotating cold/wet weather mat program, Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship, already has a city permit to operate for a month during the cold, wet months of 2014/’15.

Last month, a Port Coquitlam city committee approved a permit for Northside Community Church on Kingsway Avenue to take in homeless people for the night in January 2015. And, last October, Port Moody city council officially changed the zoning for St. Andrew's United Church on St. Johns Street to allow it to be part of the shelter program, too — but limited it to no more than 62 days within any season.

It's expected the temporary mat program will end in March 2015 as a permanent shelter opens later next year at 3030 Gordon Ave. in Coquitlam, run by RainCity Housing and Support Society.

According to a Coquitlam staff report, 133 homeless people were involved in the last mat program and volunteers helped get 38 of them into drug and alcohol recovery programs; 15 participants also found more stable housing.

jwarren@tricitynews.com

 

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