More than 50 people accommodated on Saturday night

December 18, 2016 | Homelessness

The City of Vancouver opened two community centres overnight Saturday to welcome anyone who needed to get out of the cold, and will make more space available Sunday night including at the West End community centre.

Creekside community centre was open from 8 p.m. Saturday until Sunday morning; Britannia community centre opened at 10 p.m. Both locations saw about 20 people over the course of the evening and some stayed overnight. The warming shelters were supported by staff and the Vancouver Volunteer Corps.

An additional 17 people were able to come inside and warm up due to the generosity of the Khalsa Diwan Society which also opened its doors.

Due to the forecast for snow, cold temperatures and potentially heavy rains Sunday night, the City is again offering warming shelters at the following locations:

·         West End Community Centre: 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

·         Creekside Community Centre: 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

·         Britannia Community Centre: 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Khalsa Diwan Society at 8000 Ross Street will also be open again Sunday night.

Yellow Cab has generously offered to work with the City and service providers to transport anyone who is on the streets to the warming shelters free of charge. Hot drinks and water will be available at the community centre locations however no cots will be set up. Those with their own bedding may choose to sleep at these locations.

There are 956 permanent shelter beds in Vancouver, an additional 195 temporary winter shelter beds, and up to 234 beds available during extreme weather. Those looking for shelter space can call 2-1-1 to check availability. Due to the recent cold snap, however, many shelters have had to turn people away.

Community centres and other public buildings are also available during their open hours as spaces to warm up.

Over the last eight winters, the City of Vancouver and BC Housing have partnered to open temporary winter shelters so people experiencing homelessness can find the support they need. Winter shelters save lives by connecting homeless residents with necessary health, social, and housing services.

Visit the City’s website for more information on the Winter Response Shelter Strategy.