To the cheers of its clients, volunteers and supporters, Warm Zone managers told a crowd at a Jubilee Park relationship-building picnic on Thursday that the drop-in centre for street-involved women will stay open, for at least a few more months.
"The issue is we don't have permanent funding. But I live in the great hope that the city and the province will come up with some funding," said Dorothy Henneveld, the executive director of the Fraser Valley Women's Resource Society, which oversees the centre.
Last Monday, the society's board decided not to make any decisions until October, even though there is no scheduled funding, she said.
Although the City of Abbotsford may have not offered cash, it could provide an in-kind donation, such as a more permanent location, Henneveld suggested. She has also written grant applications, including one for gaming funding, to help cover the centre's $270,000 annual budget.
Despite support from local social service agencies, the Abbotsford Police, and Fraser Health, the Warm Zone learned this spring its federal funding had dried up. However, since April, Warm Zone supporters have raised $25,000 from local individuals and businesses, including a $10,000 donation last week from one generous soul who prefers to remain anonymous, she said.
Former client Angie credits the Warm Zone staff for getting her off drugs and the street.
"I'm living proof it works. It gave me the opportunity to rub elbows with people who were in the same situation as me. Without them I don't think I would've made it," said Angie, 27, who is now upgrading her education and also volunteers at the centre.
"I hope the women look at me and see that they can do it, too" she said.
To find out more about the Warm Zone or to donate, go to www.wrsfv.ca.