British Columbia

B.C. shelters shore up against the coming cold front

B.C.'s emergency shelters are opening up extra beds to help shelter the most vulnerable from the approaching storm.

Workers prepare to do their best to give people with no roof, warm shelter

The B.C. government has promised funding for 1,200 extra shelter beds during extreme weather, to start immediately. (CBC)

B.C.'s emergency shelters are opening up extra beds to help shelter the most vulnerable from the approaching storm.

The province recently announced $1.6 million to fund 1,200 temporary extreme weather shelter spaces this winter across B.C.

"These spaces supplement permanent, year-round services and provide an extra layer of support to make sure that everyone has a warm, safe place to stay," said Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for housing, announced earlier this week.

In Metro Vancouver that means 560 extra spaces during extreme weather. The money flows when communities issue extreme weather alerts, like this week's.

Calum Scott of Directions Youth Service Centre is getting ready to activate the shelter's Extreme Weather Response program. 

"We've got really high quality mattresses," said Scott, who has called in extra staff and working hard to prepare extra food and beds.

Even before the rain comes, "We are usually filled to capacity," he said.

Metro Vancouver already has 1,000 permanent shelter beds, but the extra extreme weather funding offers much needed relief, said Rebecca Bell of the Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy.

"We are in a place with a very tight food budget. We're able to use some of that money to help provide people with a nice breakfast when they're done."

Bell said they first opened up extra beds for the homeless Remembrance Day evening in Surrey, B.C., where wind and rain often hits hardest first.

"The weather can be different across Metro Vancouver. We often find weather comes in through Surrey," then the rest of the Lower Mainland follows suit.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now