Loss Of Emergency Shelter Facility Confirmed

161 Drake Road is the location of a fast tracked construction project set to provide 28 permanent homes for people facing homelessness on Salt Spring Island.


BC Housing says it is committed to ensuring no one ends up on the streets once a supportive housing development is built on Salt Spring, but Rob Grant says its decision to also close the existing emergency shelter will be problematic for the community.

Grant is executive director of Salt Spring Island Community Services (SSICS), the organization that operates the In From the Cold emergency shelter at 268 Fulford-Ganges Rd. While BC Housing has hinted at some shelter capacity at the planned supportive housing building on Drake Road, they have made clear that the current shelter will close. When these plans are finalized, Grant said there will still be an unmet need in the community.

“Nothing around the new housing on Drake Road is going to change the need for shelter capacity. The need will still be very high,” he said. “All the data shows that, and our experience as well.”

There is a “years-long trend on Salt Spring Island in rising homeless counts far outpacing the services available,” SSICS program director Annika Lund stated in March. A 2021 point-in- time count conducted by Community Services on Salt Spring found 146 people experiencing homelessness, with 37 of those sheltered and 109 unsheltered.

Read more at the Gulf Islands Driftwood