Three new shelters will open to help those living on the streets in Kamloops.
On Tuesday, after KTW’s deadline, the province issued a press release stating it plans to open in the near future 25 beds at the former Stuart Wood elementary, located at 245 St. Paul St. The old school, which has sat vacant for some time in downtown Kamloops, was previously utilized as a shelter and will open again in that capacity in November or December. The building has been leased to BC Housing until March 31, 2022.
It comes as the city faces a shortage of 90 shelter spaces heading into winter months and shelters are running over-capacity. The most recent point in time count in April revealed 206 people living on the streets in Kamloops.
Meanwhile, the province plans to open two additional shelter locations at 600 Kingston Ave. in North Kamloops and 725 Notre Dame Dr. in the former Greyhound building in Sahali in early 2022. They first require construction and renovations.
The North Shore shelter will be constructed on a vacant lot owned by the city. The property has been leased to BC Housing for three years with the option to extend for two additional years. North Kamloops does not currently have a shelter and a service provider recently identified to this newspaper need for such a facility in that area of town. Currently, shelter spaces are located in Memorial Arena, the Mustard Seed Kamloops and Emerald Centre — all located downtown.
The province is spending $1.8 million to build the North Shore shelter and construction will start immediately. The shelter will be called Moira House and have 40 beds.
The third shelter will require renovations to the former Greyhound depot. The cost is not known. It will be called Merit Place and have 50 beds. The building has been leased to BC Housing for 18 months. Once the shelter renovations are completed, the province says it will move people currently staying at Memorial Arena to that location, allowing the rink to reopen for hockey and skating. User groups have been travelling to other communities, due to a shortage of ice time availability.
All three shelters will be managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association.