Desert Sun would like to house a winter shelter in the Oliver United Church. They are seeking a three year contract. (Google View)

Desert Sun would like to house a winter shelter in the Oliver United Church. They are seeking a three year contract. (Google View)

Virtual meeting for Oliver winter shelter is tonight

Public invited to join Zoom meeting, ask questions

The information meeting about a proposed winter shelter to go in the Oliver United Church will be held virtually tonight, Thursday, Dec. 3 at 5 and 6 p.m.

This virtual meeting will give the public an opportunity to receive information on the proposed Temporary Use Permit for the Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre to operate a winter shelter in the Oliver United Church. Representatives from the Town of Oliver and Desert Sun Counselling will be available during this time to answer questions and discuss your concerns.

You can join the Zoom video conference by computer, tablet or phone.

You also have the ability to phone in to ask questions. The presentation will be held twice, at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. The meeting will be moderated with an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the presentation.

At the Monday, Nov. 9 evening meeting, Oliver council directed staff to organize an information meeting with the proponents of the homeless shelter – both Desert Sun Counselling & Resource Centre and the United Church.

If approved down the road, this would be Oliver’s first homeless shelter.

Marieze Tarr, Desert Sun’s executive director outlined the need for a temporary emergency shelter in Oliver when she spoke to council on Nov. 9.

READ MORE: If Oliver approves a winter shelter, it would be the first to house the homeless

“We tend to look at the homeless as people other than ourselves. But they are someone’s mom or child. Do we want to ignore them? At Desert Sun we want to work with them to end the cycle of homelessness to provide them the transition to housing. We want to give them a hand up, not a handout,” said Tarr.

Desert Sun Counselling & Resource Centre is seeking a three-year temporary use permit to operate the winter shelter at the Oliver United Church, with a maximum of 10 beds seasonally (Nov. 1 to March 30), and to store one metal storage container to hold people’s personal belongings.

The Housing Needs Report, completed in early January 2020, identifies there are no shelter beds or housing units for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the Town of Oliver.

As of December 2019, there are an estimated 50 youth who are couch surfing and 32-40 people who are homeless or living in trailers, vehicles and even tents in Oliver.

Many of the people living in trailers or vehicles do not have access to safe winter heating, said the report.

To access the Zoom meeting and to get information click here.