British Columbia Sun

Extra shelter spaces available as Metro Vancouver meets a cold snap


Key takeaways: 

  • According to Environment Canada, cold temperatures and powerful winds could get wind chill values near -10 C to -15 C.
  • The City of Vancouver has extended warming centers amid a cold snap.

Vancouver faces nearly -10 C to -15 C of cold temperatures: 

Severe weather shelters have opened in areas of B.C. as a cold snap blankets much of the region in sub-zero temperatures.

Staff at the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside told they have been filling shelves with boots, jackets, and other warm equipment.

“We also know that when the temperature goes down, the requirement goes up,” stated Nicole Mucci with the Union Gospel Mission. “So with the climate persisting in being cold for the following few days, we expect our shelter to be full.”

The center got its highest capacity on Monday night, with all 96 beds accounted for. 

It will be sending out a mobile unit on Tuesday night to give out clothes and blankets to those spending the night on the roads and offer rides to individuals wanting to get to areas with the space open.

Also read: BC budget to concentrate on climate change, including year-round wildfire assistance

Metro Vancouver meets cold temp as shelters open for homeless people

The City of Vancouver states 114 more shelter beds and another 101 spots at warming centers. Warming centers are also available in Victoria. 

Bruk Melles with the City of Vancouver states the city has already opened up emergency warming centers additional days this year than the previous year. 

City warming centers, unlike shelters, don’t provide access to a mat or a bed but can deliver rest from the elements overnight, according to the team.

Advocates state while there’s an instantaneous demand for these emergency spaces, they don’t replace the requirement for long-term answers.

“A lot of individuals are homeless, and so we’ve just got to bring individuals housed in proper accommodation — safe, clean — so that they’re not having to sleep out on the roads like this,” stated Sarah Blyth, executive director of the Overdose Prevention Society.

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