Temporary winter shelter officially opens doors in Kamloops - InfoNews

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Temporary winter shelter officially opens doors in Kamloops

The Branch is a temporary shelter located at 185 Royal Ave.
November 23, 2018 - 2:35 PM

KAMLOOPS - A new shelter space that will accommodate up to 40 adults officially opened today on the city's North Shore.

The Branch is a temporary housing initiative which will be operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The shelter occupies the space at 185 Royal Ave., which formerly housed the JUMP Kamloops drop-in soup kitchen as well as ASK Wellness's mattress recycling and property services programs.

The executive director of the Kamloops Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association Christa Mullaly says when they began having conversations about taking over the space, it wasn't easy.

"JUMP was an extremely busy operation that had been here for a couple years, they operated seven days a week, provided two meals a day every single day," Mullaly says. "It was a tough conversation... to even approach the subject around displacing a whole bunch of other stuff that was going on around here, but it happened."

Inside the newly renovated shelter space which will be operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Inside the newly renovated shelter space which will be operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Glenn Hilke who ran the former drop-in soup kitchen program says it was their fifth location, and although he's supportive of the much needed shelter space, it's been challenging to find another location.

"It took us about a year to find a landlord in this neighbourhood that would be willing to take the risk to take on a project like this," Hilke says of JUMP program.

He says before the program ended, they were averaging about 100 people a day who used the drop-in soup kitchen program services. The program was started roughly seven years ago.

"It wasn't easy for us to sustain (JUMP Kamloops) and it wasn't easy for our neighbours to accept us... but we see today that this was a necessary step to get to where we are today," Hilke says.

The shelter will offer beds, showers, meals, life skills training, employment assistance, Mullaly says.

The temporary shelter space will operate over the winter months while other permanent housing options are constructed for individuals transitioning out of homelessness at 317 Tranquille Rd. and 259 Victoria St.

The residents selected to live at the shelter began moving in today.


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