MP believes federal help possible for shelter

The homeless shelter project that has been front and centre with Cranbrook’s Salvation Army the past few years is in good stead for federal government assistance, stated Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks last night (April 8).

Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks

Speaking to City of Cranbrook council about highlights in the recently released federal budget, Wilks said he has spoken to Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development about the need for a shelter in Cranbrook and with several new pots of grant money in place, he sees “a compelling case” for help becoming available.

Led by Capt. Kirk Green, the Salvation Army homeless shelter project proposes the construction of an 80-bed facility on Salter Road, adjacent to the Salvation Army’s Thrift Store (lot pictured above).

The project is reportedly at the top of BC Housing’s list of projects to support. Its budget is tabbed at $15 million and thus far about $2 million has been raised, with the assistance of the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation.

Wilks said he’s met with Capt. Green and informed him of the programs where grant money could be available.

That is good news to Coun. Angus Davis, who represents the city on the shelter committee.  He noted the process “has stalled a little bit” but the push to make the project a reality remains strong.

“The facility over there is going to be a stop-in place for many, many (social help) agencies,” he said, pointing out it won’t just be a residence.

Wilks said the fact that the nearest homeless shelters to the East Kootenay are based in Nelson and Lethbridge – which is another reason why Cranbrook’s project should gain steam.

“There is a definite need for this type of housing in Cranbrook as we have a significant homeless and at-risk of homelessness population,” stated Capt. Green in a article. “Our corps already operates a seasonal shelter so this project will be an extension of what we are currently doing.”

“It’s a great project,” said Mayor Wayne Stetski, who sees the project along with the need for a new Mount Baker Secondary School as the city’s two biggest and most-needed capital projects. The city agreed to waive about $138,000 in development cost charges to help the project in October 2011.

While project momentum may have tempered a little bit, regional awareness for the need of such a centre remains strong as the Regional District of East Kootenay has included some funds, from all areas of the region, for it in its 2013 budget.

Because there remains an urgent need for a homeless shelter in Cranbrook, the Salvation Army Cranbrook – Kootenay Valley Community Church operated a 10-bed ‘cold weather shelter,’ which the provincial government provided with $71,000 last fall to help operate (pictured with Capt. Green accepting the funds from Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett). Additionally, community groups and businesses have also provided some funding help.

Article Sourced from  – Ian Cobb/e-KNOW