Record demand for Comox Valley emergency shelter
The Salvation Army says community need is at an all-time high, for the services provided by its Pidcock House Emergency Shelter.
“2011 was a very long and a very cold year in the Comox Valley. Hundreds of individuals and families struggled to make ends meet and a record number of people turned to our emergency shelter for relief from the cold," says Community Ministry Director, Brent Hobden.
"They came in hoping to find a hot shower, dry clothes, a warm bed and something to eat. With the funding received from BC Housing and from the very generous support from many of the residents in the Comox Valley, the Salvation Army was able to meet those needs and so much more."
Over the past five years, there has been a 74% increase in the number of people staying at Pidcock House.
In 2011, 269 distinct individuals accessed services through the shelter. Pidcock House provided 4,739 beds, served 8,371 hot meals and prepared hundreds of bagged lunches for their guests. Every night the laundry facilities worked overtime, while the five showers provided needed warmth to the guests who were chilled to the bone, from spending countless hours exposed to the elements.
2012 has already seen an even greater demand on services, with 924 meals served during March alone, when the shelter was operating at 103 per cent capacity. The highest numbers ever were recorded in January, 2012, with 550 beds and 970 meals provided.
In December 2011, funding was received from BC Housing in order for the shelter to operate on a 24/7 basis until March 31st. This funding has now been extended until the end of June 2012.
“We face several challenges in the current facility," says Hobden. "In addition to the need for increased capacity, one of our biggest challenges is that the facility is not accessible for those with mobility issues. We want to be able to come along side every individual that is seeking assistance and to offer them a hand up with dignity, compassion and Christ-like love.
"While the statistics are ever increasing, they also show the need for a new facility. As the population of the Valley increases, so does the need for the shelter."
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