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Homeless shelter gets one year extension

A homeless shelter in a northwest Grand Forks neighbourhood will run for another year in its current location.

Council agreed during a special meeting Wednesday to a one year extension with BC Housing for the temporary shelter on 78th Avenue – the site of the former Hardy View Lodge.

BC Housing has been running the shelter since 2020, which provides guests with breakfast and dinner as well as access to laundry and hygiene products.

Its operating permit was set to run out at the end of the month and has been having trouble finding a site for a replacement.

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Coun. Christine Thompson supported the extension while noting people are not happy with its current location.

“I want the public and BC Housing to understand that this is temporary, this is not permanent and I would hope that this is the final time that, we as a council, are going to be asked to deal with this,” Thompson said.

Mayor Everett Baker also supported it. “I believe that Boundary Family Services has operated well and they are to be commended” even though the shelter has caused some “consternation in the community.”

The mayor also noted the RCMP wanted it to continue and has received “zero complaints.”

Coun. Neil Krog also supported it but made his conditions clear.

“For one year, one year only, with a full understanding that that place will never be anything permanent when it comes to social things,” Krog said.

Ahead of the meeting, the city asked people within 100 meters of the building to comment – about 39 properties. It received three written complaints, not supporting the extension.

The city and province signed an agreement just before last year’s municipal election to find a new shelter location.

The shelter has 15 beds, 19 staff and performs outreach services for 25 people.

BC Housing says it has 50 active homelessness case files in Grand Forks. The agency also notes three clients were able to transition into their own housing in the last year.

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