Shelter Expansion Will Help People Break the Cycle of Poverty

Brent Hobden, community ministries director, stands in front of shelter expansion construction
by Linda Leigh
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Construction is well underway at The Salvation Army’s emergency shelter in Courtney, B.C., which will provide necessary resources to help vulnerable people escape poverty.

“We are seeing families and individuals over and over again―many from generational poverty,” says Brent Hobden, Community Ministries Director. “Renovations to the shelter will provide space to accommodate job and life skills programs, and transitional housing, to help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.”

Construction to the existing shelter began in early January and is expected to be completed in June. Renovations will include a commercial kitchen, dining room, pet-friendly room and six transition bedrooms (that will be in addition to the existing 18 emergency beds).

“The transition bedrooms are new for this location,” says Hobden. “They will enable us to bridge the gap between homelessness and permanent housing by offering structure and support that includes one-on-one counselling, life and social skills teaching such as anger management and budgeting and help with job search and housing so that vulnerable people can learn to live independently.”

The emergency shelter helps individuals overcome immediate challenges and seek positive change. Renovations will provide space whereby guests can work on a personal development plan (PDP) and even participate in first aid, WHMIS and fork lift training.

“Without skills people come back to us,” says Hobden. “Our hope is that with the renovations and ability to enhance our programs we can break the cycle of people returning to and relying on the emergency shelter. I don’t believe there is a single person in this Valley who wants to be homeless.”

Each night, The Salvation Army provides 5,850 shelter, addictions, detox and mental health beds for vulnerable men, women and families.