Taking the Bite Out

Categories: Blog, Prairie News

Winnipeg, MB – Just the mention of bed bugs and people reflexively begin to scratch imagined itches.  Having to deal with the pesky critters is worse.  No one wants to share their home and beds with a blood sucking pest.  Getting rid of them can be an expensive nightmare.  In recent years Winnipeg has had to deal with its fair share of bed bugs showing up in public places, housing complexes and apartment buildings.  The Salvation Army Booth Centre has had to deal with its own share of bed bugs as well.

“Children, women and men who use The Salvation Army Booth Centre arrive during times of personal crisis,” states Major Wayne Bungay, The Salvation Army Divisional Commander, Prairie Division. “Already under stress of having to rebuild their lives due to some unfortunate crisis such as job loss, it is important for these people to have clean, safe and comfortable shelter.  Having to deal with bed bugs really can increase anxiety levels and provide challenges to rebuilding personal security and motivation.”

To discourage the critters, The Salvation Army Booth Centre is replacing common area furniture with items designed to deter bed bugs.  This new furniture is being purchased from CORCAN in Saskatchewan.  CORCAN is a rehabilitation program of the Correctional Service of Canada that provides offenders with employment and employability skills training through on-the-job and third-party certified vocational training.

“This high quality furniture is designed to discourage bed bugs.  Bed bugs have a strong preference for paper and wood.  These porous surfaces provide more humidity and egg-laying locations,” explains Major Bungay. “By replacing our existing furniture with comfortable non-porous, metal framed pieces that can be easily cleaned and maintained, we are discouraging these pests by removing conditions that enable them to thrive.  We were also pleased to discover a furniture solution with CORCAN.  The Salvation Army supports and encourages efforts in our community – be it government sponsored or community based – that build dignity and provide opportunities for restorative justice.”

To help purchase this furniture designed to deter bed bugs, the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) Shelter Foundation is providing The Salvation Army Booth Centre a $10,000 grant.

“The Manitoba Real Estate Association Shelter Foundation realizes the need in the community for shelter related causes,” states Hannon Bell, MREA Shelter Foundation Chair. “We are happy to assist in such endeavors.”

“The grant from MREA Shelter Foundation will enable The Salvation Army Booth Centre clients to comfortably enjoy activities such as playing games, watching television or visiting with each other without the fear of being bitten by bed bugs or carrying them back to their room,” explains Major Bungay. “Creating a safe and comfortable home-like environment for our clients provides them with a sense of security and stability that is essential to rebuilding their lives after the emotional turmoil and upheaval they have encountered.”

The estimated cost of replacing all the furniture is $23,000, of which MREA Shelter Foundation is contributing $10,000.  Bed bug resistant furniture purchased by the MREA Shelter Foundation contribution will be in place by February 2014.

For more information about The Salvation Army Booth Centre, please visit www.wpgboothcentre.ca.