'Out of the Rain' youth shelter opens in Victoria
A seasonal shelter has reopened for young people in Victoria who have nowhere to stay during the region's coldest and wettest months.
The "Out of the Rain" shelter in the Fernwood area opened on Friday and will run until April 15.
The shelter, operated by Beacon Community Services, is open for people aged 15 to 25 from 8:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. daily. Pets are also welcome.
"There are still far too many cold, hungry, vulnerable young people in unsafe conditions on the street," said Tricia Gueulette, CEO of Beacon Community Services, in a release Friday.
"Every year for more than 20 years, we’ve opened the Out of the Rain shelter to help keep them safe, warm, and dry," she said.
The shelter can host up to 25 people, and staff from Beacon Community Services will offer meals and can recommend community supports to youth.
This year, the organization will also be running an outreach van, donated by the B.C.-based Aragon Properties.
The van will be used for several purposes, including helping youth reach the shelter, connecting users with community resources and helping youth move their belongings if they find housing.
"We encourage these youth to hope and dream for a better life," said Jenn Mortimer, manager of homeless prevention programs at Out of the Rain.
"But that has to also be backed by practical supports," she said. "The vehicle will be a really important tool. We’re delighted that Aragon Properties is supporting us with this gift."