The perfect storm of pandemic and lack of funding is the reason for the Sooke Crisis Centre closure.
Liz Johnson, who ran the Sooke Crisis Centre for more than 30 years, said the facility didn’t receive funding for the last two years.
“We depended on casino funds, which are divided among charities. That gave us enough to pay the rent, hydro and the phone. We struggled by for a year without that funding, but we just couldn’t keep up,” said Johnson. “Then when we had to close because of the pandemic, we sort of looked at the books and thought ‘I don’t think we can do this.'”
The Sooke Crisis Centre provided support such as community service, emergency response, emergency supplies, food or meals, wellness support, and social services. Johnson noted that people who didn’t have a fixed address could pick up their mail from the crisis centre, come in and talk about their troubles, and be connected to various resources.
“In the last few years it’s been mostly a drop in centre,” said Johnson. “We would also give out bus passes, or help people if they couldn’t afford their prescriptions. Things like that.”
Now, Johnson hopes to offer some of the same resources from out of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church. The church has, for multiple years, been offering free meals to those in need every Friday through the Vital Vittles program.
“I’m sorry the Crisis Centre closed, but I think that we can pick up a lot of what we were doing there and offering it here at the church a few days a week,” said Johnson.
“I think people will miss the crisis centre, it has always been around that corner and people have been coming there for years. But there are other groups that do a lot of things too. People just step in and help in this community.”