People experiencing homelessness on Salt Spring Island will have year-round access to shelter and services, following funding from the province to extend operations.
People experiencing homelessness on Salt Spring deserve to have a safe, warm place to go year round, said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
“We are so thankful for our community partners on the island who are working with us to deliver the services people need. This type of partnership is what Homelessness Action Week is all about.”
Starting Nov. 1, the shelter operated by Salt Spring Island Community Services will be open all year, providing people with a warm, safe space to sleep. Located at 268 Fulford-Ganges Rd., the shelter provides 30 overnight beds, access to laundry and showers and two meals a day for shelter guests. The shelter will be open overnight from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Staff will remain on-site in the morning to connect guests with community resources.
“Housing challenges experienced in communities across British Columbia are magnified on the Southern Gulf Islands,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. “I’m thrilled that the government has responded to the calls from Salt Spring Island to expand shelter services. Homelessness is deeply impacting the community, and I’m happy to support the work of the incredible staff and administration of Salt Spring Island Community Services as they work to support the community’s most vulnerable residents.”
Previously, the shelter was open from Nov. 1 to March 31 every year and regularly operated at full capacity. By having a year-round shelter, staff will be able to strengthen their relationships with shelter guests, assist people with moving into permanent housing and provide support accessing other resources within the community.
“This is a most welcome and much-needed advancement of services for Salt Spring Island,” said Rob Grant, executive director of SSICS. “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.”
The government says delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Quick Facts from the B.C. government:
• The province is providing approximately $720,000 in funding to extend operations at the shelter.
• Through BC Housing, the province provides 10 rental supplements to people on Salt
Spring Island who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness to access rental
accommodations in the private market.
• To address the issue of housing affordability in British Columbia, the Province is curbing speculation in B.C.’s housing market and working with partners to build 114,000 affordable market rental, non-profit, supported social housing and owner-purchase housing through partnerships.
Donations to the shelter and outreach services to provide supplies, clothing and emergency supports for individuals in need are welcome. People can learn more by contacting SSICS at 250-537-9971.