Update: November 26, 2015
Shelter Related Questions
What are the rules in the shelter?
Here is a handout that was provided at the Open House held prior to the shelter opening.
Will the shelter be operating past March 31?
The short answer is no, the shelter will not operate beyond March 31, 2016. This is a temporary winter response shelter and the City will work closely with the operator to create an exit strategy.
Who is catering the food?
RainCity operations provides the food for residents of the shelter.
When the 40 beds are filled, where will other people go?
The primary objective of the temporary winter response shelter was to provide people camping on Cliff Avenue with a safe and warm place to go so that they can connect with the services and supports required to assist them with finding permanent housing solutions. As has been noted in information updates on the Maple Ridge Resilience Initiative Facebook page and updates at Council meetings, throughout the last six months, a coordinated effort by all local service providers saw 30 people that were on Cliff Avenue housed even before the temporary shelter opened. The staff at RainCity will work closely with their clients and other service providers in the community to find permanent housing and/or health care solutions. It is important to note that the Salvation Army will continue to operate their shelter under contract by BC Housing. That contract runs to 2017.
What security arrangements have been made for the area surrounding the temporary shelter?
The City has worked to enhance safety and security through increased lighting on Selkirk and in the alley behind the shelter. Westridge Security patrols have been adjusted to increase coverage and concentration in the downtown. RCMP have enhanced their downtown foot patrols that will increase police presence in the downtown. Local service providers will increase sweeps looking for needles in the area around the shelter. RainCity will also being doing regular sweeps throughout the day to monitor activity around the shelter.
What happens after six months?
RainCity has operated a large number of short term temporary winter response shelters, and has a very strong operating model to ensure that their clients do not end up on the streets on closing day. Throughout the six month operation of the shelter RainCity staff, working closely with the local Outreach Workers, will help clients connect with more permanent housing and health care solutions. As part of the overall exit strategy intakes will cease after the beginning of March 2016 and in that way the team can ensure that if there are any remaining residents of the shelter will be accommodated at other shelter facilities.
How do you intend on dealing with loitering around the shelter?
The facility has a private outdoor area for clients to use, and there are discussions with staff and clients on the importance of being good neighbours and respecting the surrounding community.
WHAT IF THERE IS A RESIDENT OF THE SHELTER THAT HAS A SUBSTANCE MISUSE ISSUE?
The temporary winter response shelter operates using a Harm Reduction framework, which includes referrals to addiction recovery support services. Drug use in the facility is not permitted. The reality is that some clients are struggling with addiction issues, so the shelter operators deal with each situation on a one-on-one basis to ensure that people’s individual struggles do not impact other clients and the surrounding community. The shelter also has a team that will ensure inappropriate discards in the surrounding area are collected and disposed of properly. The Harm Reduction model is described in a BC Government publication.
What is RAINCITY'S protocol to deal with drug overdoses?
Staff are trained to deal with overdoses and work with Fraser Health Authority to monitor trends and changes in incidences on a regular basis.
How does RAINCITY ensure the safety IT'S staff?
The RainCity shelter is staffed 24/7 by a minimum of two staff members who are trained on protocols to ensure their personal, and client safety. The temporary winter response shelter is a place where Outreach Workers and other service providers can come to interact with clients. The City continues to work closely with shelter staff to ensure the safety of the residents, the staff members and the community as a whole.
Do RESIDENTS store items on site?
There is limited storage space available, and shelter staff works with our clients to ensure that their most valuable personal effects are accommodated. The facility is under close scrutiny by staff and the community as a whole so the site will be well maintained.
How will the operator (raincity) handle illegal activity?
The staff at RainCity have developed a great relationship with the Ridge Meadows RCMP and will be working together to ensure the safety and security of the neighbourhood and addressing any issues of criminal activity.
How much is this costing the City?
There are a number of projects that fall under the Maple Ridge Resilience Initiative. Here is a reprint of the financial information that was posted on the Maple Ridge Resilience Initiative Facebook page on September 24, 2015;
UPDATE: What is the Maple Ridge Resilience Initiative costing local citizens? Based on the formal announcement from BC Housing earlier today we are able to share the following information. On April 28, 2015, Maple Ridge Council provided funding for the work that would eventually come to be called the Maple Ridge Resilience Initiative.
Specifically, at that meeting there were four items that Council approved;
- $160,000 was approved to hire four Outreach Workers.
- $75,000 was approved for consulting services to conduct a review of social service provision in Maple Ridge to identify efficiencies, gaps and redundancies and deliver a report with recommendations.
- $65,000 was approved to backfill a staff position to ensure that the task force work had a coordinator who could focus on this project.
- $25,000 for enhanced security services.
Three Outreach Workers were hired and have been working in the field since June/July of this year. They have been successfully connecting individuals with services, supports and housing over the last six months. In July, as part of the discussions relating to the provincial government offer to fund a temporary shelter BC Housing offered to assume the costs associated with the enhanced outreach, including any costs to date. The capacity to redirect these funds from funding the Outreach team to deal with the City’s obligations around a temporary shelter location were a significant factor in Council agreeing to move forward with the temporary winter response shelter plan. Therefore, the total budget remains at $325,000.
The contract to produce the report has been awarded to the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC). The project lead, Scott Graham, Associate Executive Director and Manager of Research, Planning and Consulting for SPARC BC, was introduced to Council on Monday, October 5 as part of the Committee of the Whole meeting. This report is intended to provide an independent review of the service provision in Maple Ridge to identify any gaps, overlaps and possible efficiencies. With this information, Council and staff can work with the community and stakeholders to develop and implement effective long term solutions. Since this was announced, the City was made aware of potential funding sources for this project from Federal Grants. Staff will be working to make the appropriate grant applications to offset some, or all, of these costs for local taxpayers.
Every effort has been made to maximize resources and to not use this whole portion of funding.
The City has been using private security to work with the Ridge Meadows RCMP at the Cliff Avenue site. That security will continue after the decampment at Cliff until the situation in that neighbourhood has normalized.
As noted in the outreach cost update, BC Housing has agreed to take over the costs associated with the Outreach program. This freed up $160,000 from the original project which should be sufficient to cover the City’s costs for the temporary shelter space. Specifically, this includes the total cost of the lease, rental of temporary (construction trailer) amenities and upgrades to the building. In order to keep the costs to a minimum, staff have acted as the general contractors for the work and have followed all normal purchasing policies of the City by using trades that have been selected as ‘preferred vendors’ through a call for services process. Work that did not fall into the ‘preferred vendor’ category was sourced via multiple quotes adhering to the City's purchasing policy;
A decision was made to not invest in extensive permanent upgrades to the building to accommodate such things as washroom and laundry services. Instead, a construction style trailer will be moved on to the site to provide these services. This was a more cost effective solution, and in six months it will be moved off the site and the property will be relatively unchanged from its current layout.
Staff met with area property owners and upgraded lighting improvements in the alley way and on Selkirk. A private security and policing strategy will also be in place during the six month operation of the temporary winter response shelter.
As part of the regular reporting and work around the Financial Plan, staff account for any investment of labour or costs associated with special projects that have emerged in the year. Council will be getting a summary report as part of the 2016 - 2020 Financial Plan in December so they can receive a more detailed accounting of the budget for this project in terms of capital and operating costs, and the human costs in dealing with this issue.
Is the Salvation Army Caring Place still open?
Yes. BC Housing has a contract with the Salvation Army Caring Place that runs until 2017. They continue to receive their full funding from BC Housing.
How much is the provincial Government spending on the Shelter?
The BC Government announced that they will invest $550,000 dollars in the operation of the shelter until March 31. This includes taking over the costs associated with the Outreach Workers, as noted in the September 24 post on the City's Maple Ridge Resilience Initiative Facebook page.
The City of Maple Ridge would like to acknowledge the support of BC Housing in relation to the direct funding of the six month shelter and the additional support through an intensive rent supplement program that they have put in place to help ensure that other citizens dealing with housing challenges are able to remain in housing.