The Lloydminster Interval Home Society is moving forward with a project which will help more people in need.

The society recently completed the second phase of their expansion which will allow for a total of 33 beds within the shelter. CEO Angela Rooks-Trotzuk says due to COVID-19 guidelines, the society isn’t able to take in the full amount yet and can only use 21 beds.

“With the increase of bedrooms we’ve added and with the restrictions, we’re still at our normal level. Once those restrictions are lifted, we’ll move from 21 beds to 33.”

Two new bedrooms were opened as the guidelines require the shelter to have one bathroom available per family. Under normal circumstances, the shelter would have private bedrooms with a shared bathroom similar to a dorm.

The expansion was made possible through the money already raised from the Bridging the Gap campaign. The Interval Home Society has put a hold on the campaign which had a goal of raising $415,000 to complete the expansion.

“Fundraising in the times of COVID is much different and presents unique challenges. At this point,  we’ve just paused the fundraising portion of it. We’re still talking to our donors and moving forward with the plans to create the extra space and recognize current donors.”

While the extra space allows them to take in their usual amount of families, Rootz-Trotzuk says they’ve had fewer requests to stay in the shelter during the pandemic.

“What we’re seeing across the province, in Alberta with domestic violence in the times of COVID, is that when the pandemic first started and restrictions were first being put in place, we saw a decrease of requests into shelter because people were staying home unless it was absolutely necessary for them to come into shelter.”

She says there has been an increase of interest in their outreach programs in the community as more businesses and services reopened.

The Lloydminster Interval Home Society is still continuing to fundraise within the community while the Bridging the Gap campaign remains on pause. The organization is holding a draw for a Sunset Cinema Package with all the proceeds going to the society. Tickets for the entertainment prize pack are available at the “For The Interval” Store and the society’s website and cost $10.

“It’s a way to bring some fun and a bit of normalcy back into our lives and the people in our community and also raise some funds for the society as well.”

Rooks-Trotzuk says the society will continue holding smaller events as well as expanding their online community education programs. Moving forward, the society will continue to adapt to the new health guidelines as well as focus on outreach work. In-person support was recently brought back and over-the-phone and online services will continue.