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BC Housing purchases new shelter for Castlegar

20 new shelter spaces coming in 2025
BC Housing has announced that 2245 Sixth Ave. will be turned into a permanent shelter for Castlegar.

Castlegar will soon have a new permanent shelter with 20 spaces for the unhoused. 

The BC Ministry of Housing today announced that through BC Housing, it has purchased 2245 Sixth Ave. in Castlegar as a location for the new shelter. 

"This new shelter will provide a safe space for people experiencing homelessness in Castlegar, where they will be able to access beds, meals, and the basic supports they need, when and where they need them," said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing, in a release. "Bringing people indoors and providing them with supports is crucial as we continue to work across government to address the root causes of homelessness."

The new shelter will be open year-round and will replace the 10-bed Out of the Cold Emergency Winter Shelter.

But before the new shelter can open its doors, it will require some renovations. The ventilation and fire safety systems require upgrades, heating and cooling systems need to be added, and there is additional work to both the interior and exterior of the one-storey building that needs to be done.

BC Housing is providing $1.6 million for the renovations, which are expected to begin this summer. Occupancy is anticipated sometime in early 2025.

The Castlegar & District Community Services Society will continue to operate the Out of the Cold Emergency Winter Shelter at 1660 Columbia Ave. for the 2024-2025 winter season, until the temporary shelter can be replaced by the permanent one.

"While 1660 Columbia Ave. provided 10 temporary shelter spaces to people in Castlegar during the winter season, the new shelter will provide up to double this capacity on a permanent basis to help address community demand for shelter spaces," BC Housing told Castlegar News.

An operator for the new site still needs to be chosen, and will be selected through a request for proposal process.

Mayor Maria McFaddin was also quoted in the release, expressing her gratitude.

"On behalf of city council, I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Province of B.C. for recognizing the need for a permanent, year-round shelter in our community and making this investment in Castlegar."

In 2023, a housing needs assessment done by the City of Castlegar stated that Castlegar needs another 1,676 zero- to two-bedroom units by 2026, and specifically identified the unhoused population as a priority group.

The provincial release acknowledged that shelter beds are a temporary solution. It stated that since 2017, as part of its Belonging in BC homelessness plan, it has built or is building more than 400 homes in the Central Kootenay regional district.