A unique storage system for the homeless near East Hastings and Main Street is being threatened with closure because of lack of funds.

Opened in October 2009, the First United Church’s belongings and cart storage facility has helped more than 1,200 people by providing them with a free and safe place to keep their possessions.

“It takes a load off my mind,” said Colin Windsor, who’s been using it for nine months.

“Carrying around bags of personal belongings is strenuous and takes a lot out of you. Having a spot to put it all gives me hope.”

The 1,000-square-foot facility stores suitcases, shopping carts, and has 155 tub-sized totes where people can keep anything besides alcohol, drugs, food and weapons. There’s also no time limit. This is a relief to Windsor, who plans on storing his stuff while he receives addiction-related treatment.

Rev. Ric Matthews said the facility is priceless to those who use it.

“Having a place to store belongings is often the first step off the streets for people who are homeless, and it helps to encourage a sense of dignity.”