Extra shelter spaces opening for homeless people in Vancouver

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People in need of a safe, warm place to go during the cold and wet winter months ahead will soon have access to additional shelter spaces in Vancouver.

Those seeking shelter will have access to 300 shelter beds when the B.C. government and the City of Vancouver open beds at 10 locations throughout the city for people who are homeless. This is an increase from 160 beds provided last year. All shelters will be low barrier and welcoming to people with pets and belongings to store. Each location will be managed by an experienced non-profit housing and shelter operator, with most providing 24/7 support.

“We want people experiencing homelessness to get the services they need. That’s why we are working with the city to make sure people in need not only have access to a warm bed, but also meals and health services to help them stabilize and transition into permanent housing,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Although this is a temporary solution, our government is working on a homelessness action plan that includes long-term strategies to tackle a crisis that has been ignored for too long.”

The winter response shelters will begin opening on Nov. 1, 2017, a month earlier than in previous years, providing much needed relief from the November rain and colder temperatures.

“Temporary shelters, though not a permanent solution, fill a critical gap in getting people off the streets and connected to outreach workers and services that will support the transition into safe, permanent housing,” said Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver. “We’re grateful for the B.C. government’s funding boost this year to open more shelter spaces, a month earlier than usual, on top of 600 temporary modular homes. This winter, providing a warm place to sleep, a meal, and access to health services can make all the difference to getting people back on their feet and into secure homes.”

The Province is providing approximately $2.8 million for the additional shelter beds, compared to last year’s commitment of $1.6 million. The City of Vancouver is covering the lease and tenant improvement costs for the shelters, for a total commitment of $720,000.

The following locations will operate until the end of March 2018 and most will be open 24/7:

  • 1138 Burrard St., operated by Directions
  • 828 Cambie St., operated by Catholic Charities Men’s Hostel
  • 609 Helmcken St., operated by The Gathering Place/City of Vancouver
  • 131 Dunlevy Ave., operated by Atira Women’s Resource Society
  • 119 E. Cordova St., operated by Salvation Army
  • 134 E. Cordova St., operated by Salvation Army (Harbour Light Chapel Winter Shelter)
  • 134 E. Cordova St., operated by Salvation Army (Anchor of Hope Winter Shelter)
  • 1648 E. 1st Ave., operated by RainCity
  • 1401 Hornby St., operated by RainCity
  • 1060 Howe St., operated by Community Builders

Since 2009, the Province has partnered with the City of Vancouver to open temporary winter shelter beds, in addition to the more than 900 year-round shelter beds that are available.  As part of a strategy to address the needs for more permanent housing, the city has 1,000 new units of social housing opening from this fall through the end of next year.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Province’s emergency shelter program, go to: www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/emergency-shelter-program

To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., visit: www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map

More information on winter shelters in Vancouver, including how many beds are available at each location, can be found here: http://vancouver.ca/people-programs/winter-response-shelter-strategy.aspx