New temporary homeless shelter to open in Maple Ridge

Global News - Maple Ridge, Aug 27, 2015 - One day after the City of Maple Ridge announced it was severing ties with the local Salvation Army shelter, Mayor Nicole Read said a 40-bed temporary shelter will open this October.

The shelter will operate until March 2016 at the former Sleep Shop building located near the intersection of 222 Street and Lougheed Highway.

Read says the shelter will help bring an end to the tent city that has been growing in a wooded area behind the Salvation Army on Cliff Drive, just steps away from a residential area.

“The temporary shelter is a critical component of ending the Cliff Avenue Camp,” said Read in a statement.

Read went on to say:

“We will be working closely with the temporary shelter provider to mitigate any impacts with the immediate neighbourhood. This is an important transition in our community. We recognize that some citizens have lost confidence in shelters based on the issues surrounding the Salvation Army Caring Place, however we are confident that a new approach will demonstrate that there are successful ways to deal with homelessness.”

“As a result of direct conversations with the residents of Cliff Avenue the City has increased the private security presence at the Cliff Avenue site to provide onsite security later into the evenings on Friday and Saturday and increased weekend coverage. Once the decampment takes place off of Cliff Avenue, private security and enhanced RCMP presence will remain in place until the situation stabilizes. Those residents have been extraordinarily patient as we have moved to this short term solution. Council wants to acknowledge their strength and ensure that the neighborhood has a strong voice and confidence that this issue will be behind them.”

The tent city has been an ongoing issue in Maple Ridge. Earlier this month, a rally was held to protest the city’s growing homeless problem. In June, a proposed barbecue at the camp was cancelled after an outcry from local residents.

Read had been critical of the Salvation Army’s “Caring Place,” saying clients returned repeatedly to the facility.

She said council asked BC Housing to end its contract with the shelter.

She also said homeless campers are a financial and social strain on the community and Maple Ridge needs a shelter operator that can help solve the problem.

Link to Story