Winter shelter to close soon after serving nearly 300 people

By Chad Klassen
March 13, 2018 - 5:30pm

KAMLOOPS — It's been used as a winter shelter for the last six months, but in the two weeks the former Stuart Wood Elementary School will once again be empty. The city has confirmed that funding for the winter shelter stops at the end of the month and it will close down. 

"The funding from BC Housing ends on March 31 and without the funding, you don't have the support services or wraparound services," said Kamloops mayor Ken Christian. "You simply have mats on the floor. That's not a good situation, and so I wouldn't recommend it stay open beyond the 31st of March.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, which runs the shelter, there have been 297 different individuals who have used the facility this winter. Mayor christian said, though, the numbers are going down as the weather warms.

"They won't be zero for sure, so those people are going to be without that emergency shelter situation," he said. "We put it in place primarily to make sure people didn't die from exposure over the winter, and fortunately that has been the case, so it's met its need there."

Last fall, the City of Kamloops and the Tk'emlups Indian Band councils reached an agreement that could see the former school become a cultural centre. Christian noted a Stuart Wood Cultural Centre could celebrate the history of both communities.

Even with new Calgary flight, Kamloops Airport still looking for Edmonton