Extreme weather response shelters opening in BC

Matt Lawson / October 31, 2018

A homeless man trying his best to stay warm in harsh winter conditions.
(JD Urban / Flickr)

With cold and potentially dangerous weather conditions just around the corner, the BC Government is opening temporary and extreme weather response shelters across the province. The shelters have been implemented to ensure that homeless people on the streets will be able to find a safe and warm location to escape the elements.

The province is providing more than 1,400 temporary shelters and over 750 extreme weather response spaces. Approximately 65 communities, in partnership with municipalities and non-profits, have signed up for the initiative.

“Temporary and extreme weather shelters are crucial to ensuring the health and safety of people living on the street and getting them out of the cold and wet weather.” – Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

According to Megaphone Magazine, 394 homeless people died in BC between 2006 and 2015. The BC Coroners Service determined that 57.1 per cent of those homeless deaths were “accidental”.

The 2017 Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) Homeless Count found 603 people without a home, an increase of 74 per cent from 346 in 2014, and well above the previous recorded high of 465 persons in 2008.

With the spike in the homeless population, the BC Government is hoping that this high volume of shelters will give these people the resources they need to survive.

“These shelters not only have the potential to save lives, they also assist people in accessing the support and services they need to achieve housing stability.” – Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Many of the temporary shelters have already been opened, with the remaining ones opening their doors November 1. They will be open every night with some of them running 24/7 and providing meals.

As for the extreme weather response shelters, they will be open from November 1 until March 31. Doors will be opened when a community issues an extreme weather alert.

Here’s a list of all the temporary and permanent shelters in BC.