Former building of the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Fort St. James which has been donated to the community. (Photo courtesy - George HoLem)

The Legion’s branch in Fort St. James have donated their building to the community

The building will be used as a homeless shelter in the district amongst other long term community needs

The Ulh’ goh Bi’ yoh Native Friendship Center Society was incorporated in August this year and are holding their grand opening ceremony this month in the district.

This initiative has been made possible by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #268 in Fort St. James as they donated their building to use for community based services. This branch was decommissioned in the district.

The newly formed Friendship Center society aspires to maintain a year-round shelter, said George HoLem, special projects consultant for the Friendship Center Society.

Long term goals include wrap around programs and services to meet the needs of community members in health and wellness, training and employment, education, addictions and housing, he said.

The shelter has been implemented through BC Housing’s Emergency Weather Response Program and will be delivered by Fort St. James based Key Resource Centre, HoLem added.

“The homeless shelter is a priority, but we will have a very effective referral program in place to direct our clients as per their need to get special or professional assistance. Also, for the community at large, we would have employment and training programs as well,” he said.

The grand opening ceremony for the Friendship Centre is being held at 2 pm on Nov. 16, at 375 E. Stuart Drive which was formerly the Royal Candian Legion Hall.

The project has been supported by Nak’azdli Whut’en, District of Fort St. James, RCMP, Chamber of Commerce, Men of the North Society, One Sparc Consulting Inc. and the Key Resource Centre.

“There is absolutely a demand for the shelter,” said Derrick Statt, manager of the shelter on behalf of the Key Resource Centre.

Last year, the beds in the shelter were used 1300 times. This year, they have two locations open for people looking for shelter. You can go to the Key Resource Centre in the mornings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the the shelter that is running in the Friendship Centre can be accessed 24 x 7, he said.

He said that in past years the shelter would be open only for 12 hours, but this year they realized right in the beginning that 24 hours was required.

“We thought we would be more proactive and not reactive,” Statt said.

There are 12 beds in the shelter with a couple of pull-out couches as well that can be used. Statt said the shelter is low-barrier which means they don’t turn anybody away.

The contribution of the building by the legion is huge for the community, he added.

More photos and information about the activities to be offered through the Friendship Center will be made available after the opening on Nov. 16.

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


(Photo courtesy - George HoLem)

(Photo courtesy - George HoLem)

Just Posted

Nak’azdli and UNBC form partnership to preserve inter-generational stories

“Stories can empower. Stories can bring people together. Stories can be instructive,”… Continue reading

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

Cluculz Lake fire leads to death of occupant

RCMP said mobile home was engulfed in fire when they arrived on scene

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Was Bigfoot just spotted on a Washington State webcam?

Sherman Pass is rougly 70 kilometres south of Grand Forks, B.C.

B.C. employer health tax wins ‘paperweight award’ for red tape

Businesses forced to estimate payroll, pay new tax quarterly

Most Read