Four churches and a civic centre in the Tri-Cities will once again open their empty spaces for the homeless overnight during the fall and winter months.
The first shelter started last Saturday (Oct. 1) at the Trinity United Church (2211 Prairie Ave.) in Port Coquitlam and will run until the end of October.
Next in the rotation, which goes until March 31, 2023, are:
- Calvary Baptist Church (1636 Regan Ave., Coquitlam), Nov. 1 to 30
- Trinity United Church (2211 Prairie Ave., Port Coquitlam), Dec. 1 to 31
- St. Laurence Anglican Church (825 St. Laurence St., Coquitlam), Jan. 1 to 31
- Trinity United Church (2211 Prairie Ave., Port Coquitlam), Feb. 1 to 28
- Coquitlam Alliance Church (2601 Spuraway Ave., Coquitlam), March 1 to 31
Run by the Progressive Housing Society, the nightly winter shelters will be open from 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., seven days a week with up to 25 cots.
Those seeking shelter will be picked up by the society at one of three meeting points no later than 8:30 p.m, and returned to the same location the following day:
- Lincoln SkyTrain station in Coquitlam
- Kingsway Avenue/Jane Street bus stop in Port Coquitlam
- Pheasant Drive and Christmas Way (behind the Real Canadian Superstore) in Coquitlam
In addition, the Kyle Centre in Port Moody will also host the emergency winter response shelter in the Tri-Cities from Oct. 15 to April 15, 2023 — run by the Phoenix Society.
However, that shelter is weather dependent and is only open from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. when the weather is predicted to meet a certain temperature threshold (i.e., when the temperature hits freezing and it’s raining).
Polly Krier, coordinator of the Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group, told the Tri-City News the operators at the nightly winter shelters won’t take walk-ins.
"We offer our sincere appreciation to the four churches that have stepped up to provide a warm, safe place for our community members living on the streets," she said.
Krier is now calling for donations for the homeless seeking winter shelter.
Specifically, the program is in need of:
- men’s clothing (shoes, larger-sized pants)
- new, unused underwear
- toques, socks, mitts
- travel-sized toiletries
To help, you're encouraged to email Polly@PollyK.ca for a drop-off location for the donations.
Meanwhile, BC Housing said the current 40-bed emergency shelter at 3030 Gordon Ave. in Coquitlam also available to the homeless; however, that location, run by RainCity Housing, is at or near capacity most nights.
"It is a matter of life and death for people on the streets to have a warm and safe place to sleep. We are very thankful that RainCity, the Progressive Housing Society, and the Phoenix Society will operate these shelters as they have significant experience," said Tim Chamberlin, senior communications advisor for BC Housing.