Brandon opening new emergency homeless shelter

A new emergency shelter has opened in Brandon, Man., on Tuesday, after city officials, businesses and individuals teamed up to help the city's homeless.
Vandana Jamadagni, co-ordinator for the Helping Hands soup kitchen, stands at the site of Brandon's new shelter. (Jillian Coubrough/CBC)

A new emergency shelter has opened in Brandon, Man., on Tuesday, after city officials, businesses and individuals teamed up to help the city's homeless.

A cold spell across southern Manitoba in the past few days has raised calls for a central full-time shelter in the western Manitoba city, CBC News reported on Monday.

Mats are laid out at the new emergency shelter, located at the Helping Hands soup kitchen on Seventh Street in Brandon, Man. It opens on Tuesday night. (Jillian Coubrough/CBC)
Members of Brandon's Safe and Warm committee have been trying to establish a shelter. They have a location, but a lack of funding prevented members from opening a facility, forcing many of the city's homeless to brave extremely cold nights this week on the street or under a bridge.

"We need to come up with close to $50,000 for security, which sounds like a huge amount of money, but [it will go towards] paying two security guards for 12 hours a night," Marla Somersall of the Samaritan House food bank told the CBC's Jill Coubrough.

On Tuesday, committee members said city council, local businesses and private donors are working together to make the emergency shelter a reality.

A local security company has offered to staff the shelter until the committee secures donations and grants to raise the $50,000 needed.

The shelter will be open every night starting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Helping Hands soup kitchen on Seventh Street.

"Everybody's excited…. I can't imagine how the people will feel [when they] realize there's a place they can go," said Helping Hands board member Jake Hamm, who is part of the Safe and Warm committee.

"I believe for the people out on the street to realize there's a warm place to come to overnight would be like you or I being told we won the lottery. It will be literally a lottery in weather like this."


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