© Guardian photo
Capt. Jamie Locke of the Salvation Army is shown in this Guardian file photo of work to the Bedford MacDonald House.
The recently reopened emergency shelter for homeless men in Charlottetown has been far from overflowing since opening its doors on Dec. 21 after being closed for nearly three months.
Still, on average, two or three people have been spending the night at the seven-bed Salvation Army Bedford MacDonald House that has been located on Weymouth Street since 2004.
That, in Salvation Army Capt. Jamie Lockeâ€™s estimation, is â€œpretty significantâ€™â€™ considering the population of Charlottetown.
Locke believes word still needs to spread that the homeless shelter is once again open.
A $200,000 donation from a local businessman allowed the Salvation Army to take over operation of the shelter. A man asking to remain anonymous donated $100,000 to cover initial startup costs and has promised a further $100,000 to help ensure the long-term stability of the service.
Locke says the men who have stayed at the shelter since it reopened last month face difficulties that run the gamut.
â€œThereâ€™s a range of issues that cause someone to be displaced from their home,â€™â€™ he said.
â€œI donâ€™t think anybody coming to us necessarily wants to be living in a homeless shelter.â€™â€™
Locke says renovations to the building have been well received. Some that have stayed before and after the overhaul that has brought the facility up to code on health and safety standards are quite complementary.
â€œThey just kind of like the way that things are freshened up,â€™â€™ said Locke.
â€œOur clients have been very receptive. They do like the environment.â€™â€™
The shelter runs on a general rule of restricting people to a maximum of seven nights a month.
â€œBut,â€™â€™ Locke is quick to add, â€œevery situation is unique. We are always willing to work with our clients.â€™â€™
The Salvation Army, he cautions, must also ensure that certain guidelines are followed, such as refusing access to the shelter to any person under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Some of the clients, in addition to enjoying a warm, comfortable stay at the shelter, have also been provided clothing.
â€œIt kind of warms your heart that we are able to play this small role to help people make the next step,â€™â€™ said Locke.