White Rock extreme-weather shelter had 543 visits so far this season

Shelter expected to move within two weeks

The First United Church extreme-weather shelter has had 543 guest visits since it opened its doors in November.

Shelter co-ordinator Kathy Booth told the Peninsula Homeless to Housing task force Friday that the shelter has been open 40 nights this season, including 25 nights in December.

The shelter, which has a maximum capacity of 15 people per night, housed 23 guests on one cold night in December, and averages about 13-14 visits when it opens during cold-weather events, Booth said.

Following the PH2H meeting, Booth told Peace Arch News that both men and women use the shelter, and that they range in age from 19 years old to over 50.

“We certainly notice that we have working people that are coming, the working poor,” Booth told members of the task force, which is made up of different faith groups, social service agencies and citizens from the Semiahmoo Peninsula. “We did notice that the population seems more (vulnerable).”

Booth said that the guests are both respectful and thankful for the service, and that she wished to thank members of the community who have donated blankets, toiletries and warm clothing.

“Not accepting donations at this time in anticipation of the move,” she told PAN by email.

Booth said that Peninsula United Church, which operates the shelter with Options Community Services Society, is in the process of finalizing the shelter’s temporary relocation to Star of the Sea Centre (15262 Pacific Ave.).

“Thanks to Star of the Sea, they have done some really good renovations, very helpful renovations. Including a shower and special storage, we really appreciate that,” she said at the PH2H meeting.

Among renovations will be relocating the dishwasher from First United to Star of the Sea, as meals will be prepared for homeless people making use of the shelter.

Booth said they don’t have an exact date on the relocation, but “we anticipate that it’s going to be within the next couple of weeks.”

Regular church services at First United, located at 15385 Semiahmoo Ave., have stopped.

An application to redevelop the site has been submitted to White Rock city hall. The plan, which has yet to be approved, is for a memory-care facility, with space for worship as well as space for an extreme-weather shelter.

Discussions around the redevelopment project were spurred by concerns with the church’s long-term financial sustainability several years ago. One of the original plans – brought to light in 2013 – was the possibility of affordable housing.

Last year, officials told PAN the affordable-housing component had been taken off the table, adding that the decision was that of the developer.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Residents showcased as ‘companion’ sculpture unveiled

Amica White Rock welcomes bronze guardian, celebrates resident talent

Homemade explosives detonated in South Surrey

Police asking public for help identifying those responsible

Surrey students paint mural, paying homage to First Nations, at SkyTrain station

Artwork to showcase ‘positivity and racial inclusivity in the city’

White Rock highrise on hold after workers exhibit ‘severe’ overexposure symptoms

WorkSafeBC issued stop-work order at 1588 Johnston Rd. site on July 24

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Wings and Wheels set for weekend lift-off in Abbotsford

Fundraiser to raise money for Crystal Gala Foundation and the fight against breast cancer

Undercover video shows alleged animal abuse at Fraser Valley egg farm

One employee wearing logo of Chilliwack chicken-catching company already facing abuse charges

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

Most Read