With the arrival of fall comes the announcement of a more shelter space to house Langley’s homeless.
The B.C. government is funnelling more funds into helping the local homeless population with a roof over their heads, with the province providing $220,000 to create a new temporary shelter in Langley.
The 30-bed shelter opened on Sept. 26, with the hope of sheltering a group of homeless people who had been residing in a camp set up along the Nicomekl Park floodplain.
The shelter is situated within the amenity space of the existing Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope facility.
Homeless individuals will have access to personal hygiene facilities, such as showers and laundry machines, and will be provided three meals a day, noted a government press release.
They will also have access to some storage at the facility, have a flexible curfew, and have access to support staff and case planning services if desired.
Located at 5787 Langley Bypass, the shelter will open nightly from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m., remaining open until April 2017.
In addition to the temporary shelter, the province has provided funding to Stepping Stones Community Services Society for an additional full-time outreach worker, who, according to the province, “can offer support services with the aim of helping homeless people access stable, longer-term housing.”
Langley MLA Mary Polak said temporary shelters provide essential services, particularly when the weather becomes cold and harsh.
“This new shelter in Langley will provide much needed warm spaces for people to spend the fall and winter,” Polak said. “We will continue to work on longer-term solutions to address homelessness in the community.”
City Mayor Ted Schaffer said this funding will support the homeless individuals who were living in Nicomekl Park and other homeless individuals in our communities.
“There is now a safe place for homeless individuals to go every night so they are not at risk of a potential hazard during the winter months. Although this is a temporary solution for the community, the city will continue to work with the province and surrounding communities to develop a permanent solution to address homelessness in Langley,” Schaffer said.
Emmy Skates, executive director, with the Gateway of Hope said this additional funding “enables the Gateway of Hope to continue assisting individuals in our community by providing safe accommodations and vital supportive services.”
Last year, the province invested more than $2.2 million to support emergency shelters and housing for the homeless in Langley.