Emergency Response Shelter extended three months

Delta’s Emergency Response Shelter has been extended for another three months.

Opened in April at the Ladner United Church, the Emergency Response Shelter is operating the same as the Extreme Weather Shelter through the work of volunteers and supported by the City of Delta, and Options through BC Housing.

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“Options, through BC Housing asked that we consider extending the shelter,” said shelter coordinator Shirley Baker. “We were to close on June 30, but our Minister Lydia Ruenzel and our Church Leadership Council approved the extension to Oct. 1.”

The shelter is open every day from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“More than likely this extension will just lead into our cold weather season,” said Baker. “We have been funded by Options, because extra funding came in for all the shelters. We also have a great community. Trying to keep the volunteers safe and healthy has also been a priority.”

Baker said early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, she required a number of volunteers to help prepare take-away food bags, but now that restaurants are reopening, gift cards are being given out to those that utilize the shelter to get a meal.

“We don’t have to hand out two bags anyone – one at night and one in the morning –and we also had to adjust what kinds of food we gave out, so that added a whole different realm of what we can do and can’t do,” she said. “We’ve had a few bumps in the road, but overall it has worked out well considering what we are all going through.”

Baker said they have room for five clients to ensure proper social distancing, adding that they have been busy.

“But we have never had to turn anyone away, so that is a blessing,” she said. “It’s been a steady four or five and then we have the odd person who doesn’t spend the night, but will come in take a shower and get cleaned up, grab something to eat and then off them go.

“I’m very proud of the night staff, the volunteers who have come forward, the community who dropped off items for us to use. I think it will be a bit calmer the next couple of months with us having access to more services, being able to give out the gift cards for people to get something to eat.”

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