In response to the lack of a homeless shelter in Salmon Arm, the Salvation Army will be launching the Café at the Lighthouse.
The Café will open on Monday, Dec. 5 and will be open Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for now, explained Lieut. Joel Torrens with the Salvation Army. As more volunteers become available, it will be open through the weekends.
He said it’s a place where people can come in and get warm, have something to eat, take a shower and do laundry if wanted. Coffee, sandwiches and doughnuts will be available.
Torrens isn’t sure yet how many people can be accommodated.
The entrance to the Café, formerly part of the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter, will be through the red doors off the parking lot at 441 3 St SE.
In addition to the new café, the front area of the Salvation Army Food Bank will now be called the Market at the Lighthouse.
The hours will be expanded to match the Café hours, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Market will continue to have the daily food table, which includes items such and bread and produce and some pantry items.
The hamper program, where people can get a hamper once every 30 days, is by appointment.
Torrens said hampers include products such as meat, dairy and a wider selection of pantry items.’
In a post on Facebook, Torrens noted that when the Lighthouse Shelter closed at the end of May, it was with an understanding there was going to be a new one in place this year.
“Unfortunately that has not been the case,” he wrote.
In response to questions from the Observer about the lack of a shelter in Salmon Arm, BC Housing wrote in an email that Murray Rankin, the minister responsible for housing, along with ministry staff and BC Housing, are working with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Shuswap Revelstoke, the city, community partners and Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo to find a location for a permanent or temporary shelter.
“We welcome any support from local partners, and will investigate all options brought forward to see if they are feasible for temporary or permanent shelters.”
Asked further about two properties that were offered for lease by a resident, and the possibility of setting up trailers used in northern work camps as suggested by Kyllo, BC Housing said those fall under the statement of ‘all options brought forward are being investigated.’
“We are confident that we’ll have an update for the community soon. In the meantime, the Canadian Mental Health Association is stepping up outreach services with support from BC Housing and the City,” wrote BC Housing, adding it would provide a more concrete date if it could, but opening shelters is a complex process involving multiple levels of partners.
Meanwhile, Dawn Dunlop, executive director of CMHA’s Shuswap-Revelstoke region, said BC Housing has provided additional funding enabling it to add a second homeless outreach worker.
CMHA’s Glenda Cooper explained the role includes checking in with people to see what they need, providing warm gear and snacks if available, and connecting people with other resources as required. She said if someone hasn’t gone through a housing application, for instance, homeless outreach can help with that to ensure they’re connected with the process.
There’s also a rent supplement program, so if people are struggling with rent, the program may be able to top it up.
Homeless outreach had also been running a shower and laundry program twice a week, which will now be expanded to five days per week with the Salvation Army’s Café at the Lighthouse.
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