Emergency hosuing society disbands, hands over projects

The board said the society is “irrelevant.”

The Boundary Emergency and Transition Housing Society (BETHS), is officially dissolving the society and passing its mandate on to other, post-flood recovery groups.

According to board member Brian Taylor, the board decided to dissolve the society after receiving a “clear indication of irrelevance,” even before the flood in May.

“‘Shelters’ are viewed as obsolete and are being replaced by more comprehensive approaches to the complex challenges that this group faces,” the board said in a statement.

In late 2017, the board of BETHS announced a partnership with BC Housing and the city to move forward with a shelter located on 2nd Street in the industrial area. Taylor said BC Housing was looking to make that a 40-bed unit, which the board of BETHS considered overbuilding.

Those plans will not be moving forward under the BETHS umbrella, Taylor said.

Post-flood, Taylor said Urban Matters will be working with BC Housing on housing projects. Taylor added that “many” of BETHS former clients will likely qualify for flood-related housing, though the decision to dissolve the society was in motion before the flood.

BETHS was founded in 2008 and incorporated as a society in 2009.

“Over the next 10 years in response to the growing numbers of people in need in our community, the service expanded,” the statement reads. “The society transitioned from being run by volunteers to a staff funded model and moved to other facilities.”

“The directors of BETHS recognize that our society is no longer relevant and have chosen to dissolve the society.”

Over the past 10 years, Taylor said the number of clients served each year has grown, from three or four per night that first year, to 10 or more last year. Taylor said it would not be uncommon to see 17 people a night last year.

Taylor said the Boundary needs a more comprehensive approach to housing that includes low income, market and rental approaches. By stepping aside, Taylor said the BETHS board hopes to allow a new society to grow in its place.

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