The State Housing Authority has terminated the contract for the Port Alberni Shelter Society to operate the city’s only shelter.
Staff, residents and City of Port Alberni officials were all informed of BC Housing’s decision late last week.
In a statement provided to Albani Valley newsA spokesperson for BC Housing said the state government had asked the Port Alberni Shelter Society (PASS) to find a new operator for supportive housing and shelters at 8th Avenue and 3939th Street (also known as 8th House). He said he was notified that he was there.
“BC Housing has a duty to protect guests and residents of supportive housing. So will the community, and over the next three months, we will be working with frontline staff at PASS and our partners to ensure this transition is seamless for residents and clients and that shelter services continue.”
Representatives from BC Housing came to the shelter on Friday to meet with residents and staff to discuss next steps.
The decision came as a shock to the PASS Board, who received notice that BC Housing plans to terminate the Our Home on Eighth contract on December 30, 2022. The association said he received notice three months in advance. This means his contract will end on March 31, 2023.
“While it is questionable whether there is a legal basis to object to this, BC Housing considers it unprofessional and unintentional,” PASS Board Chairman Myron Jespersen wrote to shelter staff. said in He added that the board intends to appeal the decision “through all available channels” and “will also advocate for staff to remain employed in case a new operator is selected.” I was.
“…we have a long history of working with many of you (staff) and have developed a culture of service and caring that we are proud of,” added Jespersen. “We are concerned that the new operator may not be able to maintain its culture and service levels, and we do not see any reason to make any changes at this time.”
In the fall of 2020, shelter operators came to the public eye after protesters pitched tents in front of the Eighth Avenue facility and complained about the condition of the shelter. The protests continued for several weeks. A third-party consultant was hired to investigate the allegations and in March 2021 released a report with 10 recommendations for changes to improve service, safety and communications.
In a letter to residents dated January 2023, BC Housing said residents of the shelter’s supported housing would not be required to move and the shelter would remain open. The organization plans to select a new operator “through a fair and open process” in early 2023.
City officials received a call from BC Housing on January 4th to inform them of the contract change. That was our main concern,” said Tim Play, the city’s chief administrative officer.
“Housing is a local responsibility, not a city responsibility, but the city is very active on the housing issue,” he said.
The City has a multi-faceted agreement with BC Housing covering the Wariyakir Tiny Home Village on 4th Avenue, the Sage Haven Society Phase 2 transitional housing project, and the future development of permanent low-barrier assisted housing. is.
“In this particular instance, the city is not involved in the relationship between PASS and BC Housing,” Pley said. “We are not actively involved in this, but we want to ensure that people continue to be accommodated.”
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