KAMLOOPS — Beefed up security measures at Stuart Wood Elementary appear to be working.
The former school was partially converted into a winter shelter in November to provide low-income residents with a warm place to sleep.
The Canadian Mental Health Association that runs the shelter received numerous complaints from parents and community members shortly after it opened concerning used needles and human feces being found on site.
Christa Mullaly, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association Kamloops branch, says since stepping up bylaw patrol, as well installing cameras, fencing, and better lighting around the school a few weeks ago they've had minimal issues.
"The fencing was basically meant to guide foot traffic to the other side of the block which is what it's doing," said Mullaly. "The city and residents and businesses in the area, have really pitched in. There's a presence on the ground now so everything is running great."
The Ask Wellness overdose prevention team is also now on site at 6:30 a.m. Monday to Friday to meet and direct people as they exit the shelter which has helped limit loitering in the area.
"They're just chatting with folks, checking in to see if anyone needs assistance to get to services, an appointment, or if they're interested in talking to someone about housing."
She adds children are now back playing on the school's playground.
The shelter includes 52 beds and is full almost every night.
It will remain open until the end of March.
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