The 44-bed temporary homeless shelter that has been operating out of The Stage building in downtown Mission is closing after tonight (Tuesday, June 30). Michelle Puffer, executive director of Mission Community Services Society (MCSS), said BC Housing is working on securing alternate space for those who can’t be accommodated at MCSS’s existing shelter, The Haven, on Logan Avenue.
Puffer said the temporary shelter has to close because the lease is now up on The Stage.
MCSS runs an extreme-weather shelter every year, which normally closes on March 31. This year’s shelter was being operated out of the Elks Hall.
COVID-19 promoted BC Housing to ask MSCC if it could continue to run the temporary shelter to get people out of camps where they would be more susceptible to infecting each other.
But with the Elks Hall no longer available, a new space had to be found. The Stage – located on First Avenue – was made available after the building was modified to pass fire codes and allow for 44 mats to be located at safe distance from one another.
However, the move prompted some concerns from the Downtown Business Association about the possible impact on businesses in the area and worries that the shelter would be running beyond the June 30th timeline that was given.
Meanwhile, the MCSS food centre has been relocated to the former True Art Dance Academy next door to The Haven.
Puffer said the move is a win-win for both programs.
“The food centre will be able to operate in a well-lit and organized space, while freeing up nearly 3,000 square feet of ground floor, accessible space at Haven for new shelter beds that follow COVID-19 guidelines,” she said.