In order to combat the stagnant funding from the provincial government, the Nicola Valley Shelter and Support Society’s cold weather shelter needs more volunteers.
To entice more people to help out, shelter co-ordinator Amery Schultz is contemplating offering some type of reward to volunteers who serve countless hours.
He said the shelter needs a core group of at least 40 volunteers that help out on a consistent basis.
“We’ll take as many as we can,” he added.
Traditionally, the shelter has two paid staff work overnight shifts, so this year Schultz plans to have one paid staff memeber working that shift with a volunteer to save money.
“If we’re able to cut out that one shift, we can stay open for the full five months,” Schultz said.
The shelter is operational November through March every winter.
There are a few other new ideas the shelter society’s board is considering ahead of this year’s shelter season.
One is to incorporate a staggered closure instead of simply shutting the doors at 8 a.m.
The reason behind this idea is to give the homeless individuals the shelter traditionally serves a place to stay until social service agencies open.
“What we’ve noticed in previous years is that when we shut our doors at eight o’clock, no service agency in town, [such as the welfare office], is open 8:30 or 9 a.m.,” Schultz said.
He also said staying open a few times per week during the day as a spot where people can have a coffee, and get any information or supplies they need is another idea being considering for the shelter.
“If we can find the manpower and the dollars to do it, we would love to do it,” Schultz said.