The city of Prince Rupert, in partnership with the Province and the North Coast Transition Society (NCTS), have announced the location of a new emergency winter shelter.
The shelter is located in the old McLean and Rudderham building at 328 3rd Avenue West in downtown Prince Rupert. The shelter will open over the weekend with services available from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and ongoing intakes throughout the night.
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“It’s central, it’s warm and it’s dry,” said Grainne Barthe, NCTS program manager. “And we hope to make it as comfortable as possible.”
On Friday, Nov. 17, Barthe was at the location with NCTS executive director Christine White and Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain. White said the shelter will have approximately 25 beds and there are preliminary plans for a soup station.
Barthe said the facility will be a wet shelter, which means that intoxicated individuals or those dealing with addictions will be able to use the shelter.
“There’ll be no tolerance of using inside the shelter,” she said. “But if people are at different stages of their life with addictions or whatnot, they can show up here intoxicated.”
Mayor Lee Brain said the city hopes to see the tent city, currently established next to city hall, removed in conjunction with the opening of the shelter.
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“That’s been our number one goal,” he said. “Is to ensure that there is a safe and dry place for them to go.”
Brain said the province has provided a budget that will cover some of the shelter’s expenses, but added that additional fundraising will be required to run the shelter effectively for the duration of the time that it’s open.
“It’s a very bare-boned budget and we’ll be calling on the community now to rally behind the North Coast Transition Society,” he said. “We’re going to need some income to come in to help support this, but also the fact that the North Coast Transition Society has also stepped up to take on a new mandate in the community, which is taking on the homeless situation.”