News Views: More Support

The province has granted funding to extend the opening of the city’s temporary homeless shelter another three months.

The province has granted funding to extend the opening of the city’s temporary homeless shelter another three months and has also made on offer to buy the Quality Inn, for use as long-term supportive housing.

The B.C. government is providing $270,000 to allow the 40-bed temporary shelter on Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge to remain open until the end of June.

The province has also made an offer to purchase the Quality Inn for $5.5 million. The building is to provide 61 units of long-term supportive housing for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including people currently at the temporary shelter.

The purchase will be finalized in early May.

The province has now provided more than $5 million in the last year to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 1,100 households in Maple Ridge.

In 2015, close to 170 homeless people in Maple Ridge were housed through rent supplements and shelter services.

That’s not insignificant.

The funding extension comes as the six-month clock was running out on the temporary shelter, in the former Sleep Country building on Lougheed Highway. Since it opened in October, as many as 141 people went through it.

The shelter stopped taking in new clients a month ago.

About 40 clients, some of the most difficult to house, because of addiction and mental health issues, remain.

While there have been a few complaints about the temporary shelter, the downtown has been a much cleaner and quieter place since the tent city on Cliff Avenue was removed.

There have been 40 or so drug overdoses at the temporary shelter, but that speaks to the struggles of those staying there, despite widespread warnings of fentanyl use.

But staff at the shelter and emergency services were there to respond.

And the new location will offer another level of support, currently not available in Maple Ridge.

For all the work the city has done trying to resolve the issue of homelessness in Maple Ridge over the past year, it deserves our continued support.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News