How you can help

Donations can be dropped off at Siloam Mission at 300 Princess St. on Mondays through Fridays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.; on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Anyone with donations to drop off at other times are asked to call ahead or contact a staff member inside the drop-in centre.

Donations can also be made online or by mail to Siloam Mission or by calling (204) 956-4344.

A flood at a Winnipeg homeless shelter forced some 400 people into the bitter cold Thursday morning, as well as damaged the centre's food supplies.

“We will need to rely on the support of our donors and volunteers to get through this crisis,” said Floyd Perras, Siloam Mission's executive director.

“We still don’t know the extent of the loss at this point, and it's quite a shock happening right before Christmas.”

The flood was caused by a broken sprinkler head in the medical supply room of the mission at 300 Princess St.

“The sprinkler head gave way, though we are still investigating the cause and the extent of damage,” said Perras.

Siloam staff have opened a temporary location at 303 Stanley St., directly behind the flooded building on Princess.

Shelter users, volunteers, and staff are waiting out the crisis in a warm, safe indoor area, according to officials.

Significant water damage

Mission staff say the mission’s fire alarm went off at 9 a.m. and emergency crews responded immediately, finding "significant water damage" caused by a frozen sprinkler head in the medical supply room.

Perras estimated that about $10,000 to $15,000 worth of medical and dental supplies were contaminated by water and will have to be destroyed.

The shelter may be faced with major repairs in the health centre due to the water damage, and new patients won't be accepted until the centre is deemed safe, Perras said.

Damaged food

Food boxes soaked by the flood at Siloam Mission. Roughly $5,000 to $10,000 worth of food may have to be destroyed, according to officials. (Caroline Barghout/CBC)

"For a lot of people right now it's going to be hard because people don't have coverage or can't go anywhere," said Anthony Corbin, who uses Siloam Mission's health-care services and eats at the shelter every day.

"This has been the most convenient place for a lot of homeless people to come."

Firefighters also found extensive leakage into the basement, where donated food, clothing and other items were stored. Shelter staff are assessing the amount of damage, which so far includes several pallets of food.

Perras said there was about a week's worth of food in the affected area, so staff are in the process of determining what can be salvaged and what will have to be thrown out.

Canned goods can be salvaged, although the labels will have to be removed and the containers washed and sanitized before use. However, food inside cardboard boxes that were soaked will have to be discarded, said Perras.

“Thankfully we were able to move everyone to one of our other facilities, the building we used as a temporary dining room during our major renovations last summer,” he said.

Water damage

Water can be seen in some supply cabinets at Siloam Mission. (Caroline Barghout/CBC)

“This underscores the importance of our vision to expand our operations to ensure the safety of the people we serve. We are so grateful to the patrons and volunteers who jumped into help.”

Perras said the kitchen and dining room are still operational, but the health clinic and the clothing rooms have been closed indefinitely.

"We are focused on making Winnipeg’s less fortunate feel at home for the holidays [and] we are striving not to let this setback affect our Christmas dinner," he said.

"We are so grateful for all the support and donations people can offer.”