The first test for the City of Delta’s extreme weather shelter at Ladner United Church passed with flying colours.
The shelter opened for the first time this season on Sunday, Nov. 25 and was open for three consecutive days due to heavy rains and winds.
This is the second straight year the extreme weather shelter has operated out of Ladner United Church.
“We will open when we are given the word from Options Community Services,” said shelter coordinator Shirley Baker. “It could be because of heavy rains, of colder temperatures. So they will give us the heads up.”
Baker said two volunteers from Options come to the church and are on hand when the shelter is open (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.).
“When we get the word then I shift my volunteers into go mode and we set up the room here at the church,” said Baker. “We set up the beds – we have nine available, but we set up five at a time. On average last winter we had three a night.”
Baker said when people come to the shelter they can enjoy a hot cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, a warm bowl of soup, take a hot shower and dry out their clothes.
“When they leave in the morning we have the ability to provide them with fruit, granola bars, a sandwich and also if they need a bus pass, Deltassist has given us one-zone bus passes,” said Baker.
“We have a rack where they can dry clothes and we are in the process of obtaining a washer and a dryer, so when that happens we will have an option of washing and drying when they are here.”
The shelter has a limited supply of clothing items, including socks, warm hats and scarves.
Baker said they would like to have more items on hand, but storage is an issue. They also have received, through volunteers and businesses, care packages of toiletries and other items that can be provided when shelter users leave.
“One of the things that would be really helpful, if someone is out in the community and sees someone who appears to be homeless and the shelter is open, just say to them do you know where to go,” said Rev. Jim Short.
“They can also contact Delta police at the non-emergency number because Delta police would want to know where these people are and as well, they can take people from both North (Delta) and South Delta to the shelter.”