Downtown Vancouver shelter runs out of space, forced to turn away at least 25 seeking warmth
Union Gospel Mission says it has space for a maximum of 92 people
Staff at the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside say the facility had to turn away at least 25 people on Sunday night after it hit capacity.
"Twenty-five turnaways in one night is an extreme number. The need is extreme right now," said the UGM's Jeremy Hunka.
"It's really concerning because this cold weather, we've seen it be deadly in the past, and we want to avoid a tragedy."
The shelter has 72 permanent spaces and can add 20 mats on the floor for a total capacity of 92.
Forecasters expect another cold night in Lower Mainland on Monday with a low of –4 C that could feel like –10 C with the wind chill.
It's going to feel like -10 tonight in Vancouver! We're offering more than 90 emergency shelter spaces to keep ppl safe during the winter blast. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thankyou?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#thankyou</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/giveback?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#giveback</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/endhomelessness?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#endhomelessness</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/homeless?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#homeless</a> <a href="https://t.co/fiySXd1z1s">https://t.co/fiySXd1z1s</a>—@ugm
Three Vancouver community centres open tonight and will remain open until Feb. 20. They include:
- Britannia Community Centre at 1739 Venables St.
- Carnegie Community Centre at 401 Main St.
- West End Community Centre at 870 Denman St.
Warming centres open as a life-saving response when temperatures drop below –5 C.
- City opens warming shelters as temperatures dip below freezing
- Vancouver preparing additional cold-weather shelter beds
- New modular housing on Kamloops' North Shore will be staffed 24 hours a day to increase safety