An extreme weather emergency shelter for women is being planned for the Cowichan Valley. (File photo)

An extreme weather emergency shelter for women is being planned for the Cowichan Valley. (File photo)

Extreme weather shelter for women moving forward in Duncan

To be located in facility near MacAdam Park

Plans are underway that could see an extreme weather shelter for women set up in Duncan.

The United Way and the Cowichan Coalition for Homelessness and Affordable Housing are working towards placing the shelter in the former Charles Hoey school on Castle Place.

The Cowichan Valley school district has already granted use of the school, located close to McAdam Park, for the shelter and the partners have identified a lead operator capable and willing to run the facility

BC Housing is also advocating for the project, but government officials have indicated that the shelter can be for women only and not children because the Ministry of Children and Family Development has its own process to house homeless women and their children.

Signy Madden, executive director of the United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island, said two homeless counts in the Valley in 2017 identified an average of 23 women who are absolutely homeless in the area, and statistics show many of them are not using the Valley’s Warmland Shelter because they don’t feel safe in its predominantly male environment.

Earlier this week, the City of Duncan turned down a controversial request from the United Way and the coalition to allow for a temporary daytime warming station for the homeless at the field house in McAdam Park.

The city cited a number of reasons for its refusal to house the warming station in its park, including that the field house doesn’t have hot water and funding for the warming station was not in place, but also acknowledged there was significant opposition to the plan from the park’s neighbours.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

Madden said the fact that the extreme emergency shelter would be only for women, and that it would likely not hold more than 20 clients at a time, means that the shelter shouldn’t have the same issues and concerns for the neighbours as the warming station.

“There will be staff on site, and if the clients are not able to abide by the shelter’s rules, they wouldn’t be able to stay there,” Madden said.

“I hope the community will be understanding of the need for this shelter.”

Duncan Mayor Phil Kent said he doesn’t know if the extreme weather shelter will receive the same negative response from many of the neighbours as the warming centre proposal did.

“But I do know that this extreme weather shelter would be a completely different operation than what was proposed for the warming centre,” he said.

“As well, the field house in McAdam Park was not set up properly to handle a daytime centre, while the Charles Hoey school facility just needs some minor adjustments to be an extreme weather shelter for women.”

Madden said that while funding is falling into place for the shelter, BC Housing will not provide start-up and administration fees, and have indicated that extreme weather initiatives need to be community-driven, with financial support for them coming from the community.

She said another $9,000 is needed, so requests have been made to the City of Duncan, the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Municipality of North Cowichan to each contribute $3,000 to the shelter.

North Cowichan decided to grant the $3,000 request at its meeting on Dec. 20, while the next local government meetings in Duncan and the CVRD in which funding decisions can be made are not until the new year.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Lake Cowichan Legion received federal funding in December, 2020 to help the organization weather the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan Legion receives federal COVID-19 assistance funding

Can be used for expenses such as insurance, utilities, rent or mortgages, property taxes, and wages.

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Do you know someone who should not be driving?

We are currently living about 10 years longer than our ability to drive safely.

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: Time to slow down to speed up

In a society where we learn (are forced?) to multitask like crazy

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Shawnigan Lake School. (Citizen file photo)
UPDATED: Island Health reports COVID-19 exposure at Shawnigan Lake School

Shawnigan Lake School has been added to the list of schools in… Continue reading

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read