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Vancouver storage shelter seeks helping hand 0

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

A person sleeps outside on the steps of church in Downtown Eastside,  Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday October 9, 2012. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

A person sleeps outside on the steps of church in Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday October 9, 2012. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

When someone finds themselves out on the street, their possessions can be a barrier to getting their lives back together, says a Vancouver church raising money to continue storing personal effects of the homeless.

First United Church on East Hastings has been running a storage facility for those on the street or in precarious housing situations since 2009, but a gap in this year’s funding threatens the initiative.

“We’ve got some individual donors that help us out from year to year,” said the church’s Heather Forbes. “(Our plan is to) first get January covered and then have that awareness building towards finding some new partners to keep it running for the rest of the year.”

It costs about $6,000 a month to operate the 200-unit storage centre.

Forbes said homeless people are hampered by having to haul belongings with them all day.

“You can’t got to the doctor, you can’t go to a job interview, you can’t go to a housing application, you can’t go to a grocery store,” she said. “By providing a storage facility, people are able to do those things.”

The church has released a video highlighting the importance of the shelter and interviewing users.

The video was placed on the website Indiegogo and has so far helped raise half the funds needed for January.

 

 

 

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