Campbell River Family Services Society will be tasked with sheltering the homeless this season.
The city’s Homelessness Coalition sought out qualified agencies to provide housing services to the city’s homeless and Family Services’ proposal was chosen.
Mayor Walter Jakeway said it was a difficult choice for the coalition, which he sits on as a non-voting member.
“They received four very good proposals back and of course we can only choose one,” Jakeway told council at last week’s council meeting. “The members of the coalition research each of the proposals really well and they made a really good choice.”
Jakeway said the advantage Family Services had over the others is that “it’s a one-stop shop.”
Not only can Family Services provide for an extreme weather shelter but there are services available for the homeless to take advantage of.
“The people on the street only need to go to one place and they get deal with whatever issue they’ve got going on,” Jakeway said. “It makes it very simple for the people on the street – they’ve got a tough enough time in life so to be able to go to one place and get help, I really believe it’s going to work.”
Council released to Family Services the $191,600 it received from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) via the Strathcona Regional District which is earmarked for homelessness initiatives.
Jakeway said Family Services is looking at a $75,000 just to set up the extreme weather shelter, which needs to start moving forward as soon as possible.
“We’re at a time crunch, the Extreme Weather Shelter will start October 1 this year if the money’s approved,” Jakeway said.
Wendy Tyrer, chair of the Homelessness Coalition, said the VIHA funds will be enough to set up and operate “the numerous programs” for just over one year.
“In the meantime, Campbell River Family Services Society will be actively applying for additional funding from senior governments and others, to allow sustained and expanded operation of local homeless services into the future,” Tyrer wrote in a letter to council.