Bringing them in from the cold in Chilliwack

It's been years since Chilliwack has received funding specifically for 'extreme weather' shelter beds, says Sally Ann official.

Chilliwack agencies are working on a funding application for 'extreme weather' beds

When the temperature dips below freezing in Chilliwack, it’s tough to be out on the streets.

That’s the motivation behind an effort to get help from the province from reps at Salvation Army, Ruth and Naomi’s Mission and Cyrus Centre Chilliwack.

It’s the first time they have joined forces to put in a BC Housing funding bid for what’s known as “extreme weather” shelter beds, so they can bring street people in from the cold.

“The application is going in soon as possible,” said Tim Bohr, director of community ministries for Chilliwack Salvation Army.

It’s been years since Chilliwack has received funding specifically for extreme weather beds.

“We’ll be petitioning for an exception to be made because of the demonstrated need for this,” Bohr noted.

The trio of local groups serve a similar client demographic, those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, so it made sense to join forces.

“We’re blessed to have multiple agencies working in concert on this,” said Bohr, which included City of Chilliwack reps.

The last Homeless Count in Chilliwack showed there were 77 people on the streets, which did not include the people who were staying in emergency shelters.

There are emergency shelter beds available, but they fill up quickly when the weather turns. There are up to 16 beds at the Salvation Army’s Care and Share Centre, and another 18 beds at Ruth and Naomi’s Mission, and four at Cyrus Centre.

But winter weather is another thing.

“All of this is to make sure no one is force to sleep in sub-zero temperatures. It’s because we genuinely care,” said Bohr.

“The need is growing,” said Bill Raddatz, executive director at Ruth and Naomi’s. “And the need for extreme weather beds funding is also clear.”

A year ago they’d have seven or eight taking shelter for the night at the downtown mission on Margaret. This year it has been more like 14 people per night, said Raddatz, which doesn’t include the extra beds needed when the weather gets nasty.

So this week they squeezed in 21 people on cots. They all just needed a bed when winter showed up a little early in November.

“It’s happening earlier than usual this year,” said Raddatz. “I think this cold caught us all off guard since we just got the application together last week.”

Everyone is hoping the extreme weather funding is approved quickly.

“It’s cold out,” said Bohr. “We are remaining hopeful it doesn’t get to the point where we have to turn people away.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Multi-vehicle crash shuts down Highway 1 at Annis Road in Chilliwack

Everyone asked to take detour at Annis Road and expect delays

First rainstorm of the season pelting the Lower Mainland

Batten down the hatches as heavy rains, wind, and some localized flooding possible

Atchelitz Threshermen’s big garage sale in Chilliwack goes ahead this weekend

The annual fundraiser for the association was delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Sprinkler system extinguishes fire in industrial building in Chilliwack

Progress Way building had only minor fire, smoke and water damage thanks to sprinkler system

UPDATE: Suspect who once killed a man in jail was arrested in Chilliwack after truck fire

Jordan Cole Burt was taken into RCMP custody while wanted on an outstanding warrant

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Refresh of Liberal government’s agenda comes amid new looming COVID-19 crisis

Lockdowns saw fed spending soar to historic levels in effort to offset pandemic’s blow to Canadians’ livelihoods

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read