Rob Thiessen, director of the Hope for Freedom Society, the organization that will operate the shelter, said he does not know what type of response to expect from the community.
In the past, temporary shelters have drawn criticism from some residents, who fear the initiatives will draw more homeless people into their neighbourhoods. However, in recent years, Thiessen said he has noticed less opposition to the shelters and more understanding from the community that these proposals are necessary.
"I have no idea what to expect," he said. "In some cases the responses have been very minimal. Sometimes there is a huge crowd so it is hard to say."
The proposal is known as the Tri-Cities Bridge Shelter because it would cover the time period from when the cold/wet weather mat program ends next year and a permanent shelter at 3030 Gordon Ave. is built in 2014.
If the plan is approved, the church would be able to provide accommodations to homeless people during the cold months from October through March between 9:30 p.m. and 7 a.m.
But there are several differences between Hope for Freedom's new proposal and the cold/wet weather mat program that operates today.
Currently, homeless people meet at various locations around the Tri-Cities and are bused to a different church each night. The bridge shelter would be at the same location, and those who wish to access the service will have to find their own way to the church.
Thiessen said this will cut down on confusion and save the society the cost of providing transit to the people using the shelter.
The new location, he said, is also right near where most of the homeless people live, making it easy for them to move out of the bushes and indoors.
"They are already rustling around in the bushes," he said. "Where would you rather have them be? Rustling around your house or in a nice warm facility?"
The open house will take place at Grace Church (2606 Kingsway Ave., PoCo) on Thursday, Feb. 2 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Concerns and comments raised at the open will house will be addressed within a proposal that the Hope for Freedom Society will submit to the city of Port Coquitlam as part of an application for a temporary use permit.