Welcome Inn aiming to open Jan. 1 but needs professional help | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Welcome Inn aiming to open Jan. 1 but needs professional help

Jason Siebenga, Welcome Inn site coordinator
Image Credit: Submitted/Jason Siebenga
December 19, 2019 - 1:39 PM

The Welcome Inn emergency winter shelter is rushing to a Jan. 1 opening date but still needs people with professional experience to get them there.

“We need a certain amount of people with some experience,” site coordinator Jason Siebenga told iNFOnews.ca today, Dec. 19. “That’s going to be the biggest thing to stand in our way. There’s still a need for the first line staff contingent. We’re looking for people with strong related experience. That’s what’s going to push us over the edge.”

The hope is to open the Welcome Inn at the Metro Community Church on Ellis Street with 20 beds that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week as of Jan. 1. As more staff are hired, the plan is to expand to 40 beds. It’s funded by B.C. Housing to operate through to the end of March.

The plan is to have the equivalent of 15 full-time staff (some people may only be able to work part-time) supplemented by volunteers at peak time.

There are enough people signed up as staff to cover a number of the shifts but more are needed. There are also 100 volunteers who have come forward but they are looking for more to avoid burn-out.

“The quality of that first line staff to be able to manage the volunteers and to give them guidance and have some confidence around it, that’s critical to make it safe for volunteers and residents,” Siebenga said.

He’s looking for people with nursing, social work and health care experience who have, preferably, some experience working with the homeless and people with drug issues.

People can apply as staff or volunteers at www.welcomeinn.org.

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