Summerside men's shelter opening Monday after months of delays

The shelter's opening was planned for December when Summerside City Council gave the project the green light, but renovations took longer than expected.  (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
The shelter's opening was planned for December when Summerside City Council gave the project the green light, but renovations took longer than expected. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

Summerside's new men's shelter is finally ready to open following several months of delays.

Six beds will be available to those in need of housing at 287 Winter St. starting Monday morning.

When Summerside councillors gave the project the green light, the shelter's opening was planned for December, but renovations took longer than expected. Opening day was pushed back to April 1 before being delayed once again.

The Native Council of P.E.I. originally pitched the need for such a shelter, and will be managing it.

Scott Carnall, the council's housing development officer, said he hopes the six beds will help address a dire need for housing in the city — even if they're not enough to solve the entire problem.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

"We're a drop in the bucket of what is needed, but for six people at a time, it is going to be a big change, life-changing for them," Carnall said.

"That's what we are focusing on, is that we will take six people out a time and move forward with that."

Will be a 24/7 service

The shelter will be open to any men who need it. There's no requirement for people to be sober to access its services, but they won't be allowed to bring any illegal substances into the building.

"We have what is called an initial assessment," said shelter manager Roberta Cosgrove. "It will just be basic information, reasoning for needing the shelter.

"If we do have a bed available, we will bring them in through the full intake, which is a little more in-depth on what they are looking for, for the future ... If we're full, we have that initial basic assessment to put them on a waiting list."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

The shelter has a full kitchen, a recreational area and laundry facilities, as well as lockers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided.

The shelter will operate 24 hours a day.

"If we have bed availability and they come in and it's pouring out, they can have a place. Or if they just got to Summerside," Cosgrove said. "I think it is just very important to have those services 24/7."

Once the clients are in, the plan is to connect them with services they may need, such as help with job hunting or housing applications, the Native Council said.

"There's a large population in Summerside that's slowly being housed out by higher rents and lack of jobs. There's lot of people moving onto the streets, a lot of people couch-surfing," Carnall said.

"A lot of people are struggling to find rentable accommodations, and it's really causing a strain."