Two more beds have been added to the homeless shelter in Sooke, just in time for the cold winter months.
Now, 19 individuals will be able to spend the holidays indoors, compared to the same time last year when those in need had to choose between an emergency weather shelter in Shirley or downtown Victoria.
“Everybody deserves kindness and a warm place to sleep,” said Amy Bell, shelter operations manager. “We’re working to provide a safe space for people to find stability and live their best lives. Sooke is a complex community with lots of diverse characters and we’re here to care for every part of it.”
Back in September, the shelter had 17 beds with a waitlist of five people. According to Bell, the waitlist is slowly dropping, clients are settling in and most of the common areas have been decorated for Christmas. In fact, the clients are planning their own gift exchange.
The shelter operations manager pointed out that while there will be a generous Christmas breakfast and dinner served later in the month, there is a sense of uncertainty in the air.
Currently, the homeless shelter has been operating on a month-to-month lease. Bell confirmed that they have secured their shelter, located at 2197 Otter Point Rd, to operate at the same location until the end of February only.
Bell said the biggest struggle will be finding a permanent space next year, as they’ve officially been operating as a homeless shelter since July. Right now, they have two staff on call at all times, with three in the night.
Nonetheless, they’re keeping their hopes up, as they are the only homeless shelter on the West Shore, with seven in Victoria alone, according to BC211.
“We need long-term security and we don’t have that right now,” said Bell. “‘It’s not fair to let these people wait on pins and needles not knowing where they will end up in a few months.”
Until then, the Sooke Shelter Society is asking the public to donate to their stock of unused socks, gloves and underwear. They also plan to hold a drive-thru raffle ticket sale and collect new unwrapped gifts for children to donate towards the Sooke Christmas Bureau.
Their drive-thru event takes place in the parking lot of 667 Waddams Way on Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more info or to donate to the Sooke Shelter Society, head over to bit.ly/SookeShelterSociety.
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