A twenty-bed emergency shelter is set to open in Hope this fall, funded by BC Housing and run by the Hope and Area Transition Society.
The shelter will be located at 650 Old Hope Princeton Way: renovations are ongoing and the shelter will open at the beginning of October according to BC Housing. The shelter will be run by the Hope and Area Transition Society (HATS), whose four-bed shelter at the Thunderbird Motel will cease operations once the new shelter is open.
“I think that the timing is excellent,” said Gerry Dyble, executive director of HATS. “It’s needed in our community and it was an effort that was done with our MLA and the District of Hope and HATS to bring this about.”
The shelter will do a soft-launch on Oct. 9, Dyble said, with a total of 13 beds open: five for females and eight for males. By late October to early November the remaining seven beds will be open, coinciding with the beginning of BC Housing’s extreme weather response.
Dyble said some modifications need to be done, including making one of the beds accessible as well as building kennels for pets. There will be two rooms for males and one room for females, separated by an office.
The shelter is open not only for people in Hope, but also surrounding areas and people passing through should they need it. The intent of BC Housing, Dyble said, is to provide services into Agassiz and Boston Bar.
“We do service anybody who comes through our community, for shelter, we’re not exclusive just to Hope homeless,” she said.
HATS will get annual funding from the province to keep the shelter open “year-round, 24/7” BC Housing stated.
“Two support staff will be onsite, which will allow the shelter to admit individuals with high levels of need that had previously been unable to use the Thunderbird facility due to an inadequate number of support staff on site,” BC Housing stated.
The shelter is just the beginning of the province’s investment in Hope. Two adjacent lots, 660 and 670 Old Hope Princeton Way, were also bought by the province for future supportive housing development.
These plans are 18 months to two years away, Dyble said, adding BC Housing would be better suited to answer questions on the supportive housing component. A representative from BC Housing could not be reached as of press time.
The longer-term project is funded through the province’s supportive housing fund, which is putting $1.2 billion over 10 years into building 2,500 units across B.C. for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The province estimates there are 60 people who are homeless in Hope and surrounding areas. This is a higher number than a 2017 point-in-time count of homeless individuals, which found 36 people in Hope and six people in Boston Bar who were homeless.
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