The money coming to Abbotsford for extreme weather sheltering will be split among three separate projects.
Megan Capp, Archway Community Service’s manager of social justice, seniors and housing, says the funds will help complete projects that have been in the works for some time. But first, they’ll be communicating with the community about their plans.
“One of the really cool things about this project is that it’s going to be peer informed,” she said. That means they’ll be reaching out to those who are unsheltered, and experiencing homelessness.
The province announced $1.5 million in joint funding on Aug. 12, from both the province and federal government.
There will be a drop-in centre during the day, a place for 15 additional, separate beds in a different location, and an accessible washroom centre. Archway is working with Impact Abby and the 5 and 2 Ministries and Abbotsford Restorative Justice to bring the plans to life. They hope to have it all done by November, before the winter begins.
“We currently don’t have locations yet. Nothing is confirmed yet,” she said, but they will “be mindful of the surrounding areas.”
“We definitely don’t want to be disruptive. We want to be an asset.”
She said the feeling is that more people understand that access to washrooms are a basic human need, after experiencing so many washroom closures during the pandemic.
“I dont’ think it’s something new,” she said. “Advocates have really been advocating for many years now (for accessible washrooms) and now we’re in a different place to make this happen. With COVID, the general community knows what it’s like to have this basic human need.”
Giving people access to better hygiene is an obvious win for the community, she says.
“It’s all about dignity, human dignity for all our community members.”
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