CLOSED IN OCEANSIDE FOR THE 2021 SEASON
For shelters in Nanaimo check this Regional District of Nanaimo listing.
The Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness was responsible for bringing an emergency shelter to the community in 2011 and supplemented the operating funding provided by BC Housing.
Until 2017 it operated as an Extreme Weather Shelter – only open on days when the temperature dropped below a certain temperature. In 2017 it became a Cold Weather Shelter – open every night from November 1 to March 31.
The shelter was able to accommodate women, men and families and provided a daily hot dinner and breakfast. It was also a good place for clients to learn about and connect with other services in the region.
Over the 2019-20 winter things were complicated by Parksville City Council changing their mind and objecting to the use of a purpose built shelter in Orca Place, leaving local service groups scrambling.
A consortium of churches came together under the name OHEARTS (Oceanside Homelessness Ecumenical Advocacy Response Team Society) to staff and operate a Winter Shelter with BC Housing funding for 8 beds. OHEARTS also contributed funds and volunteer efforts, at times housing up to 20 people.
During the 2018-19 season the shelter was coordinated by the SOS, located at the Arbutus Grove Church at 170 West Hirst Avenue in Parksville. It had eight beds, was open 6 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and ran at near capacity.
The Salvation Army operated the shelter from 2011 to 2015 and contributed significant additional funding. During this time, the shelter was open for an average of 48 nights per winter with more than 504 individual stays.
In 2016-19, the Island Crisis Care Society assumed operation of the shelter, with the final two years at the Arbutus Grove Church.