Waterloo region shelters overwhelmed as temperatures plummet

A higher number of adults used homeless shelters Monday night in Waterloo region forced the region to experienced overflow capacity.

Hotels and motels are being used to accommodate the overflow, officials say

Shelters in the region are over capacity. The region used 30 hotel or motel rooms Monday night to accommodate the increase. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

As Waterloo region remains under an extreme cold warning, the area's shelters are being overwhelmed by people needing a warm place to sleep.

On Monday night, the region accommodated 270 people who needed a place to stay. Normally, it only has 195 fixed beds. 

When shelters reach what the region calls "overflow," an additional 45 beds are created. If that's not enough, the region then puts people in four to five different motels. 

"We have a system in the Region of Waterloo where we're able to flex and create space as we need it," said Jennifer Murdoch-Martin, the manager of housing programs and development at the Region of Waterloo. 

Murdoch-Martin said those needing a bed should approach one of the shelters or visit Lutherwood Housing Services during the day.

They can also call the region's prevention and diversion number for single adults at 519-624-3133 between 8 a.m. and midnight.

"We are experiencing high capacity, but we do have space to meet the needs in our community," Murdoch-Martin said.