Crisis at the Sooke Crisis Centre

More people requesting assistance than in the past

The Sooke Crisis Centre is in need of more cash, after an unusual increase in clients since November, according to Joan Titus, secretary treasurer.

She said young people, seniors, and families with young children have been rushing into the Crisis Centre to receive non-perishable food, clothing, bus fare and a portion of the daily serving of coffee and buns.

Titus, who works at the Crisis Centre on Tuesdays, said about 35 people line up outside during the three hours of operation for services. The day is especially busy because hot soup is served.

In order to accommodate the increase in clients, Titus has begun dipping into the Crisis Centre’s savings — something that was never required before.

“Now I have to use some of our money and go buy food because there’s that much more going out,” she said. “We desperately need more money, I’m afraid I’m robbing our savings.”

Although some of the clients have part-time employment, Titus attributes the higher volume of clients to a lack of work and unemployment.

She said the problem works in a cycle. People who secure employment are unable to get to work because they do not have money for bus fare or gas.

Although the Crisis Centre does provide bus tickets and gas vouchers, there sometimes isn’t enough.

“We don’t always have these things, but we try,” she said.

Many clients also need financial assistance with rent, hydro bills and dental work.

The Crisis Centre provides the entire gamut of assistance, with volunteers helping when ever they can.

“It’s very broad, and that’s what the aim was in the beginning to try and fill whatever is needed.”

She mentioned a few instances of social service assistance where volunteers comforted the bereaved, assisted with court problems and reconnected family members.

The Crisis Centre currently operates on $13,000 from provincial gaming grants, a $6,000 grant from the District of Sooke, and business, non-profit and individual donations.

The centre is open from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday to Friday.

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