Salt Spring Emergency Shelter to Open Year Round

outreach3November 1 of this year will mark the opening of the year-round overnight Emergency Shelter on Salt Spring. BC Housing confirmed with Salt Spring Island Community Services (SSICS) that funding had been granted for a twelve month Emergency Shelter advancing from the ‘seasonal’ status of the shelter in past years that ran from Nov 1 – April 1.

“This is a most welcome and much needed advancement of services for Salt Spring Island,” said Rob Grant, SSICS Executive Director. “The community and our elected officials have been very active in making it known to the Province that Salt Spring has a very significant homeless population and more services are required. It is to the credit of BC Housing that they have acknowledged that and recognized the need here.”

In the last homeless ‘Point-In-Time’  count in March of 2018, 131 homeless individuals were counted on Salt Spring Island – an increase of 48 individuals, or 58%, from the previous count of 2016. With the proportion of ‘Unsheltered’ extremely high at 63 individuals, the number was due to rise to 89 (68% of the total) a few weeks later when the seasonal shelter closed on April 1. The number of homeless as a percentage of the total population of Salt Spring Island was 1.24% at that time (131 / 10,557), possibly the largest per capita homeless population in Canada.

The funding will provide an overnight “Essential Services” shelter for up to 30 people, to meet immediate needs for accommodation, nutrition, security and basic hygiene from 6 pm to 11 AM.

Donations to the shelter and outreach services to provide supplies, clothing and emergency supports for individuals in need are welcome.