The extreme weather shelter at Ladner United Church is open once again, in spite of a cut in government funding.
"We made a decision here... that we would continue for this season," said Rev. Jim Short.
Earlier this fall, the church learned that its B.C. Housing funding for the shelter had been cut due to low occupancy numbers.
Short said there was money left over from last season, so the decision was made to pare down the budget to open again this season.
The shelter has been open on five nights thus far and housed two guests each night. Shelter co-ordinator Debbie Mitchell said the church still receives the extreme weather advisories.
Starting in 2010, from November until March, the church has acted as an extreme weather shelter. On nights where an extreme weather alert is issued, the church converts its nursery into an overnight shelter for those with nowhere else to sleep.
On those nights the shelter is open from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., whether or not anyone comes seeking a warm place to spend the night.
When people come in, Mitchell said, volunteers greet them and offer food, coffee and hot chocolate, as well as clean, dry socks and other clothing.
Nothing has changed at the shelter, except the funding.
"There's a lot of generosity in the community," Short said.
The shelter receives discounted dry cleaning on the bedding, which must be done after every opening, as well as coupons for soup and coffee from a local restaurant and donations of bus tickets and grocery store gift cards.
The church is currently undergoing restoration and renovations. Short said the plans include a dedicated shelter space with a proper shower and bathroom facilities.
The church is looking for cash donations to help fund the shelter. Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington and Coun. Ian Paton have come together to help spread the word about, and raise money for, the shelter.
Donations can be dropped off at the church office, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., or mailed to: Ladner United Church, 4960-48th Ave., Ladner, B.C., V4K 4X6.
Make cheques out to Ladner United Church and denote on the memo line that it should be directed to the Extreme Weather Shelter. Tax receipts are available.
For more information, call Ladner United Church at 604-946-6254.
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