Winnipeg shelters running out of beds amid cold snap
Siloam Mission turning some people away, sending them to Salvation Army
Homeless shelters in Winnipeg are running out of space during this week's cold snap, with one shelter having to turn some people away.
All 105 beds at Siloam Mission are currently full, and there is a waiting list, so staff say they have had to send some people elsewhere.
"Do we turn people away? Absolutely," Judy Richichi, one of the shelter's co-ordinators, told CBC News on Thursday.
"I don't have exact numbers for last night, unfortunately, but it's obviously a concern."
Nighttime temperatures in Winnipeg have been consistently below –20 C so far this week, with the mercury dipping as low as –28 C.
Richichi said staff at Siloam Mission are working with other agencies, such as the Salvation Army, where some people in need are being sent.
As a result, the Salvation Army's shelter has had to add 25 more beds to create enough room.
"Staying in a bus shack and different things like that — it's not appropriate anytime, but when it's that cold, it's just not right," said Mark Stewart, a shelter official.
The Salvation Army shelter usually fills up by 9 p.m. every night, said Stewart, who added that the problem is not a lack of beds.
"We can't just build more homeless shelters," he said.
"What we need to do is build more affordable housing, so when people do come here, they are expected to work with people so we can move them back into the community."
Officials with both shelters say they also need more winter clothing donations, such as tuques, coats and warm clothes.