Maureen Mackell is out to eradicate homelessness in Squamish.
“It is a solvable problem as far as I am concerned,” said the executive director of Squamish Helping Hands Society.
The solution — supportive housing. Although the community offers a limited amount of affordable housing, supportive housing isn’t on the map, Mackell said. The society, which runs a 15-mat homeless shelter on Third Avenue, has a proposal to create such housing on Wilson Crescent — a plan slated to go before District of Squamish officials.
“You can’t go from a shelter to independent living,” Mackell said. “Often, you need a bridge.”
The homeless shelter receives financial support to cover room and board for its 15-mat program. However, the society’s hot meals draw up to 60 people, averaging 30 over the course of the year.
“It changes with the seasons,” Mackell said.
The centre pairs up to 15 people a day with various community services and provides school lunches for approximately 90 children whose parents can’t afford to do so.
The third annual Crave: Dining for Dignity on Saturday, Sept. 28, will help take a bite out of the organization’s bills, said Rachel Boguski, who is helping organize the event. Held at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park’s CN Roundhouse, Squamish chefs will set up 15 food stations showcasing their culinary creations. There’ll be a street party theme and a chance to dress up, Boguski said, noting the food will be paired with B.C. beer and wine.
“We have a ton of local restaurants aboard,” she said. “You always are going to get something new when you are there.”
Last year the gala raised $10,000, a figure Mackell aims to duplicate this time around. Tickets are available at the Squamish Liquor Store, Scottie’s Liquor Store, Squamish Helping Hands Society and online at www.crave2013-eorg.eventbrite.ca. Until Saturday, (Sept. 21) tickets cost $75 and will jump to $100 afterwards.