Homeless shelter set to open in November

A November opening date is being targeted for the Tri-Cities’ first purpose-built homeless shelter.   
Representatives from the group that will operate the shelter, RainCity Housing, spoke to Coquitlam council Monday about progress made to date and other items left to accomplish on the property, at 3030 Gordon Ave.
Sean Spear, the housing organization’s associate director, noted construction began in November of last year and the foundation is currently being laid.
The official opening date is tentatively set for Nov. 12 of this year.
“We’re really, really pleased to see that moving forward and finally opening this year in November,” Spear said.
The four-storey, wood-frame building will include 30 shelter spaces, 30 self-contained transitional housing units and accommodations for 30 people who can be housed overnight during extreme weather events.
Plans around how tenants will be selected, and the coordination of volunteer efforts, will be hammered out in coming months.
Along with those plans, RainCity will develop a mailing list to keep in contact with area residents. An advisory committee consisting of up to 14 members will also be struck to keep tabs “around the exterior operations of the facility and how it impacts the neighbourhood,” according to Spear.   
Tentative plans call for the inclusion of two RainCity staffers, a tenant, and representatives from the City of Coquitlam, Fraser Health, the RCMP and BC Housing, as well as seven additional members spanning the business community, other service providers and nearby residents.
Mayor Richard Stewart stressed the need for RainCity to work alongside the existing volunteer base already found in the Tri-Cities to help ensure the shelter operation is successful.
“There’s a lot of community groups that consider themselves to be partners and we consider them to be partners on homelessness issues,” he said. “We want you to consider them as partners.”
Spear said RainCity staff members are already part of a sub-committee made up of members of the Tri-Cities Homelessness & Housing Task Group and the Hope For Freedom Society.
As part of that sub-committee’s work, plans will be finalized later this month around contingencies should the shelter’s construction be delayed beyond the planned November opening date.

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