A 40-bed homeless shelter will open soon in West Kelowna after council on Tuesday unanimously endorsed the proposal from BC Housing.

Four mobile office trailers are to be moved onto a vacant lot near the corner of Westlake Road and Stevens Road. The shelter, where residents will also receive food, will remain open until April.

Council’s approval came despite opposition expressed in dozens of letters and in the form of an 800-plus-name online petition. Councillors said no location would be perfect, and they said the need to help the homeless was urgent.

B.C.’s minister of social development and poverty reduction got a visit from advocates Monday morning who say they want to see policy changes rather than so-called Band-Aid solutions in the province’s efforts to address poverty.

A group from the Poverty Free Action Team, an initiative with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, delivered a gift box to MLA Shane Simpson’s office in Vancouver Monday complete with items aimed to represent what they’re calling for.

“Around this time of year, Canadians are encouraged to donate to support people living in poverty,” said Viveca Ellis, interim community organizer at the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, in a news release.

“The best gift that would truly keep on giving is sustainable support in the form of comprehensive policy change and significantly increased investments through TogetherBC that will improve people’s lives year-round and help lift them out of poverty.”

An anti-poverty organization wants the provincial government to increase funding for social development in the next budget.

The New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice says some social assistance recipients haven’t seen monthly rate hikes since 2010 while for others it was 2014.

Provincial coordinator Jean-Claude Basque says inflation has meant less purchasing power over the years.

The Table men’s shelter is closed, but the men’s hostel is open.

Heather Cassie, CEO of the Table Soup Kitchen Foundation, said she wants people to know there’s still a place for men who are struggling to find housing to go in the winter.

Cassie said the shelter has struggled financially to stay open in the past, and operating the building under a hostel model rather than a shelter was the best way to keep the doors open long-term. So far, she said the change has been successful.

“It’s a compromise. It’s the best we can do right now because of costs,” said Table volunteer Lynne Doyle.

It seems B.C. Housing, not wanting to face further opposition from Kelowna residents, just sat idle.

That means, for another week or so, 40 homeless people will have to continue sleeping in tents in the snow and cold. Once the Fuller Avenue facility is filled, there will be a clearer picture of how much shelter space is still needed.

While some people are still looking for more shelter space, it’s not clear what B.C. Housing is doing on that front.

The only emergency homeless shelter in Sydney, N.S., has moved to a bigger and better location.

The Community Homeless Shelter moved from Margaret Street to Townsend Street and opens Monday night.

“It’s doubling our space,” said Fred Deveaux, executive director of Cape Breton Community Housing, which owns and operates the shelter.

The number of beds will increase from 18 to 28 and there is room for cots if more beds are needed.

The move, which was cost-shared between Housing Nova Scotia, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and Cape Breton Community Housing, comes in response to a growing need.

On Dec. 5, 20 anti-poverty advocates from Hamilton travelled by bus to Queen’s Park. We met with six MPPs and attended Question Period. We had requested that Monique Taylor, MPP Hamilton Mountain, ask the government about a growing crisis being experienced by people dependent on social assistance — Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program. This crisis has been created by the government’s decision not to give the usual 1.5 per cent annual cost-of-living raise to social assistance for 2019. This hits hard at a time when rents are increasing and the price of food has escalated by 7.6 per cent over the past year (Report of the Toronto Medical Officer of Health to the Toronto Board of Health, Oct. 16, 2019, Food in Toronto: Affordability, Accessibility, and Insecurity.)