David Byers, Salmon Arm Salvation Army community services manager, sits in the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter men’s sleeping quarters. The shelter opened on Nov. 1. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap shelters committed to providing help even during pandemic

Lighthouse Emergency Shelter looks at increasing the number of months it’s open

Salmon Arm’s emergency shelters continue to provide shelter in the face of COVID-19.

At the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter run by the Salvation Army, community services director David Byers said plans are to keep the shelter open until March 31, as usual.

The hope for the future is to keep the shelter running for a greater portion of the year.

“I know we’re in talks with B.C. Housing and Salvation Army to see if that’s possible to keep open but at this point in time we don’t have any decisions made because it’s not just our decision; it’s partly B.C. Housing and partially Salvation Army’s so we’ll just have to see how things play out over the next two weeks.

“At this point and time we are going to do our best to meet the needs of the community.”

The 16-bed shelter, which adjoins the Salvation Army Food Bank, is located at 441 Third St. SW.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s homeless shelter open, busy immediately

Read more: Salmon Arm celebrates International Women’s Day

The SAFE Society, which runs the Salmon Arm Women’s Shelter, continues to welcome woman and children fleeing abuse.

Executive director Jane Shirley said the plan for the transition house includes restrictions, social distancing and self isolation.

“The Transition House services continue with special parameters and strict precautions that are in place to ensure that staff and families at the Transition House are protected as much as possible. Currently there is no public access with no donation drop offs or ‘free public shopping’ days. Things change daily but SAFE is following recommendations from BC Housing, Ministry of Health and other authorities as it impacts those who use our services.”

She said all other programs continue to offer virtual support only, so the Stopping the Violence and PEACE program offices are closed to the public.

Families are being asked to restrict contact and to stay within the shelter if at all possible.



marthawickett@saobserver.net

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