A shelter offering a temporary place to stay to people in need in Strathmore is expected to welcome its first guests in the coming weeks.
The homeless shelter will be situated within the Harvest Healing Center church on Canal Garden, in an industrial section of the town.
“People come to the churches for help,” said Elizabeth Karp, the church’s pastor. They come for handouts. Hotels give us a rate. We try and take them into shelters but the need is tremendous. There’s people sleeping outside in tents.”
The Strathmore Overnight Shelter is expected to open to people in need in September
“Strathmore and other small towns have homeless issues,” explained Richard Rodgers, outreach director, “but maybe not homeless that you can see on the street.”
The ten beds will be provided free-of-charge to those who require them but stays will be limited to a maximum of five nights.
The shelter, which is slated to open in September, is the result of years of dedication to the project to get the building up to code. Employees of Legacy Fire Systems have donated the equivalent of $8,000 worth of labour to install the church’s sprinkler system, required under new fire codes “Having grown up in the community, I thought it was an opportunity to give back,” said Carl Pollard of Legacy Fire Protection. “We’re all fortunate and it’s a tough economy. Wherever people can give back it’s important.”
John Hilton-O’Brien, president of the Strathmore Overnight Shelter, says the need for the shelter was exemplified late last year. “Last December, somebody died in Wheatland Country because of exposure and I don’t want that to happen again.”
Two full-time staff members will be hired to run the shelter. Once it opens, organizers will assess its use and determine if more beds are required.
With files from CTV’s Stephanie Wiebe