A total of 205 extra shelter spaces are being made available to provide more homeless and vulnerable people in Vancouver with a place to avoid the forecasted cold weather.
According to the City of Vancouver, overnight temperatures are expected to reach a low of -2°C, prompting city officials to enact the Assistance to Shelter Act. The extra spaces will take the form of mats to add on to the regular bed capacity of the shelters.
These mats are distributed across eight facilities: St. Mark’s Extreme Weather Shelter (1805 Larch Street), Union Gospel Mission (601 East Hastings Street), The Gathering Place (609 Helmcken Street), First Baptist Church (969 Burrard Street), Catholic Charities (828 Cambie Street), Directions Youth Services Centre (1138 Burrard Street), The Salvation Army Harbour Light (119 East Cordova Street), and The Salvation Army Belkin House (555 Homer Street).
Virtually all of the extra spaces are being made available beginning tonight, including a number of locations that will act as a ‘back-up’ when the main shelters reach capacity.
Last Thursday, the City opened four temporary wintertime shelters offering a total of 170 beds. Within hours, all of the shelters reached capacity and had to begin turning away people.