New temporary shelter for older homeless people opens in Abbotsford warehouse

15 beds laid out each night until March 31 at MCC building

Older homeless people in Abbotsford have a new calm, quiet and warm place to rest their heads at night.

A temporary shelter opened Wednesday night for men and women 50 years old and up.

“A bunch of grandmas and grandpas” filled the 15 beds laid out on the floor of a storage warehouse at the Mennonite Central Committee building on Gladys Road, according to organizer Jesse Wegenast.

The 5 and 2 Ministries pastor said the 15 mats will be laid out every night between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. until March 31. By 8:30 a.m. each weekday morning, the space will turn back into a working warehouse, he said.

Wegenast said he tried to find a more suitable location for the cold-months shelter in the Clearbrook area but was unable to.

The 15 individuals who slept at the MCC on its first night will have a bed available to them as long as they don’t miss more than one night, he said. They will also have case planning available to them offsite to try to secure more permanent housing, Wegenast said.

In addition to being a placid environment better suited to the older crowd, Wegenast said the new shelter will greatly improve health outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people living on Abbotsford’s streets.

“From a cost end of things, if you can spare two or three people two- or three-week stays in the hospital, then the shelter pays for itself,” he said.

But, Wegenast said, the shelter is by no means a final answer to homelessness in Abbotsford, where the number of elderly people living on the streets is growing. He said he purposefully did not broadly advertise the shelter before it was open to avoid having to turn people away on its first night.

READ: Homeless numbers spike 79 per cent in Abbotsford

The space is being donated by MCC. The Salvation Army, Lookout Society, Abbotsford Community Services and City of Abbotsford have all helped to make it happen with funding from B.C. Housing, Wegenast said.


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at Abbotsford border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

UFV to launch Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Abbotsford

Online event on Sept. 24 features keynote speaker Bob Rae and Steven Point

UFV wrestler Jason Bains receives four-year suspension for using banned substance

Surrey native tests positive for oral steroid Turinabol, silver national medal removed for violation

Fraser Valley foursome to hike 70km over mountains in memory of friend

Friends from Abbotsford and Langley to hike from Hope to Tulameen for Brook Morrison

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mother-daughter charged in 2017 torched-SUV killing in South Surrey now allowed contact

Judge grants Manjit Kaur Deo permission to connect with Inderdeep Kaur Deo through a lawyer

Most Read