River City Shelter Now Closed

Church officials have created a statue called "Homeless Jesus" to make a statement about the contentious forced closure of their shelter. (photo by Jake Jeffrey)

River City Vineyard’s homeless shelter in the former YMCA building on Mitton St. officially closed as of noon Sunday.

To make a statement about the contentious forced closure, church officials created a statue called “Homeless Jesus” that was placed outside the shelter after their 10am service on Father’s Day.

The Superior Court of Justice ruled the city has the legal right under its zoning bylaw to close the shelter.

The church is appealing the decision and hopes to work with the city to reopen next winter if the appeal hasn’t been decided by then.

Reverend George Esser says over the past eight years, they’ve provided a place to stay for over 3,000 people.

Five people using the shelter have temporary arrangements but Esser says they’re still homeless.

Good Shepherd’s Lodge Executive Director Myles Vanni says other than restrictions about violent individuals, anyone is accepted at their Confederation St. facility.

He says there are not 30 day maximum stay or no criminal record policies as suggested by River City Vineyard.

Vanni says they took in a couple of individuals from River City Sunday and there’s room for more.