Edmonton agencies worry homeless numbers may be climbing

As Edmonton homeless shelters fill up during the frigid weather, inner-city agencies are worried the number of homeless people in the city may be climbing.
Homeless people fill the Boyle Street Community Centre Wednesday as temperatures drop to the minus 20s. Agencies fear more homeless people are living on Edmonton streets. (CBC)

As Edmonton homeless shelters fill up during the frigid weather, inner-city agencies are worried the number of homeless people in the city may be climbing.

"We're seeing a lot of new people and that's worrisome for us, people that we haven't seen before in this agency or on the street," said David Berger, deputy director at the Boyle Street Community Centre where almost every chair is taken  as a couple of hundred people gather throughout the day to warm up, have a bite to eat, or a cup of coffee.

"It's worrisome because we're concerned that maybe in fact the homelessness numbers are increasing and if that is the case we've got a bigger challenge on our doorstep," he said.

Not far away, more than 600 people slept on mats last night at the Hope Mission shelters.

The highest number the shelter saw last winter was 622, a number already surpassed this week, said spokesman Devin Komarniski.

Last night 618 people stayed at the shelters while 627 showed up Monday night.


 

With files from CBC's Lydia Neufeld

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