FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The local warming shelter is reopening this Saturday after the City of Fort St. John was able to secure funding.

After Community Bridge, which operated the shelter last winter, informed the city that they did not have the capacity to take on the project this year, the Cultural Learning & Innovation Circle (CLIC) expressed interest.

Although council still has to authorize the mayor and corporate officer to sign a lease agreement with CLIC when they meet on Monday, the centre is opening its doors early to meet the “significant” demand in the community.

The centre was open earlier this year in the winter but had to be shut down due to a lack of funding, despite ideas to keep it open as a cooling centre.

Through an agreement between the city and the Union of B.C. Municipalities, $215,280.00 was granted for CLIC to run the warming centre this winter.

Juliana Schmidt, community engagement manager with CLIC, says they have partnered with Urban Matters and the city to run the centre from September 24th until the end of February.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to extend until the end of April next year,” she said.

Schmidt says the centre’s primary goal is to have a safe and warm place for the populations that don’t have access to those basic needs.

“They can take a shower, they can keep their belongings there, there will be lockers for them, we’ll be providing meals,” she explained.

“We’ll give them support and guidance to access other services if they need… We are going to be opening a little earlier to make sure that that population has a safe place to be.”

Currently, CLIC is looking for donations, including some mattresses for the spare room at the centre, Schmidt says.

“Right now, it has like a very thin layer of, not even a mattress. It’s just blankets for them to take a nap during the day,” she explained.

CLIC shared a post on their Facebook page listing the donations they need the most, including winter clothing, food, and toiletries.

(Cultural Learning & Innovation Circle – Facebook)

On September 29th, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Schmidt says they are also holding an open house for anyone interested in visiting the space located at 10067 100th Avenue.

For more information, visit the FSJ Warming Centre Facebook page.

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca. Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.