The worker shortage in Vernon is affecting how many shelter mats may be available for the homeless.
Kelly Fehr with the John Howard Society says they’ve had to close mats at the Gateway Shelter from time to time because of a lack of casual workers.
“And so as we`re gearing up for winter and we’re expecting our mats to be open on a regular basis and hopefully extend to more than just 10 mats and try to do up to 20, we need to gear up”
He says they’ve not been able to put out extra mats about 6 times over the past few months because of a lack of workers and that’s put pressure on others to be able to help clients.
“So we’ve had a number of occasions where managers have had to work 16 hours a day to be able to cover off for staff who are sick.”
Gateway also has 24 beds and while those have not had to be closed, Fehr says they’ve come close.
The Society is working closely with BC Housing to increase the number of mats and the time they`re available.
Kelly Fehr says it’s been difficult in the current job market to find employees and even the casual workers they have end up working full time.
He says they need 8 to 10 workers right away but it’s anticipated more will be needed around the end of November or early December.
The John Howard Society is unionized and the starting salary is 17 dollars and 10 cents an hour.
Fehr says in a perfect world they’d liked to have someone with a Human Service Workers diploma but the reality is in this job market they’re really looking for someone who has their grade 12 and social skills.
“Has a big heart, is able to be non-judgemental and empathetic, is able to meet people where they’re at. The biggest key is not to bring you’re own biases into work and someone who is willing to learn on the job.”
Anyone who is interested can send a resume to email@example.com.