WARMING CENTRE PROJECT:
Located at 7500 Donaldson Drive in Grand Forks, BC
Whispers of Hope supports a year–round shelter in our community.
While we agree that more local support services are needed, we encourage the community to build upon and improve current services, rather than eliminate them. In time, we hope to see an organization more directly associated with housing initiatives take on and continue this project.
Initiated by a group, now known as the Social Services Advisory Group (SSAG), in December 2018, out of necessity with the BETHS board disbanding earlier that year.
When approached in desperation, to offer administrative oversight for the Warming Centre, we knew it was a matter of life and death for some people, and were proud to oblige. With insight from many stakeholders and professionals over the years, we know that providing these services keeps people safe, especially during extreme weather, and also reduces camping and loitering in the downtown core.
Some members of the advisory group joined the Warming Center Committee to help oversee operations and provide insight and guidance to staff and administration. 7500 Donaldson Drive was generously offered to use for free from the owners, while they awaited a variance to open business. Supplies were donated from the previous BETHS Shelter, and many of their experienced staff joined the new Warming Center staff.
As of April 2019, BC Housing offered an extension to funding to allow for a year-round shelter, so long as the building remained available. The building was available, for fair market rent, for at least 8 more months. The New Board voted unanimously on Wednesday May 22nd 2019; deciding to continue administrative oversight until a new location could be found and/or an appropriate organization could be found. The Warming Centre Committee was unable to continue, so Whispers began to oversee operations directly, and began to address community concerns.
As of July 2019, City Council found the operations to be in contravention of their zoning bylaws the entire time it was operating. A letter was sent to the owner of 7500 Donaldson Drive to rectify the situation, disallowing any overnight stays. The lease for the Warming Center was then terminated, with notice given to be off the property by the end of August. Despite any efforts to plea for reconsideration until an alternative could be found, the Warming Center closed.
All funding for this project comes from BC Housing
Whispers of Hope – Chain of Command:
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.
We work closely with organizations that offer these services, providing additional outreach space, to ensure our guests are safe and have access to as much information and resources as possible.
Boundary Mental Health and Substance Use – provides many services including adult community support, adult short-term assessment and treatment, community residential programs, geriatric programs, crisis intervention, day and outpatient programs, addictions counselling, concurrent disorders services, group therapy, peer support, and after-hours mental health support.
AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society (ANKORS) – provides a multitude of services, with offices in Nelson and Cranbrook BC as well as rural outreach and education throughout the Kootenay region. ANKORS programs are based on the belief that services are provided in a non-judgmental manner without prejudice that ensures individuals’ right to anonymity and confidential access. We serve those living with and at the greatest risk of acquiring HIV / AIDS and/or HCV, who have difficulty obtaining services elsewhere, especially due to substance use, mental illness, sexual orientation, gender identity, race and ethnicity, and/or other social barriers. ANKORS was established in 1992 as a non-profit society
Rural Empowere Drug Users Network (REDUN) – helping create an environment that supports dignity, health, human rights and respect for former and current drug users and the community at large.
Healing our Spirits – Circle of Indigenous Nations Society (COINS) – provide support and services to ages 15 to Elder; outreach services that supports individuals in their own community; one-to-one support as well group support in a cultural setting; support and connections to other local cultural gatherings; support for individuals accessing other community resources, and cultural support for case/treatment planning.