When temperatures plunge this week, homeless people in Flin Flon, Man., will be able to come in from the cold at a new overnight homeless shelter.
"Elated is how I'm going to feel. It's about time that we had something for our vulnerable population in the Flin Flon area," said Jason Straile, housing co-ordinator for the Aboriginal Friendship Centre, which runs the shelter.
Straile joined the friendship centre nearly a year ago. He said the number of people who are homeless in the community has been rising, but the city has never had an overnight shelter before.
"It's needed in our community. We have too many vulnerable people in our community sleeping on the streets or couch surfing or not having a place to spend a cold night," he said.
On Wednesday, the shelter's first night, Environment Canada forecast Flin Flon would see an overnight low of –31, with a wind chill factor of –40.
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The new shelter can accommodate roughly 15 people and runs out of the friendship centre at 57 Church St., Straile said. It will be staffed on a volunteer basis, with two people working every night, and will be open from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. until March.
The centre received a financial donation from the Flin Flon Neighbourhood Revitalization Corporation, but doesn't get any funding from the city itself, he said.
Over the past two weeks, the community has donated winter clothing, blankets and pillows. Straile is hoping those donations continue to come in.
"It would be nice to get some donations of even coffee or soups or something like that so that we can feed them in the evenings, or any financial help would be greatly appreciated as well," he said.
If you want to support the shelter, you can drop donations off at the Aboriginal Family Centre or call Straile at 204-687-8855, he said.