Early winter weather prompts winter shelter beds across province

Chilliwack among communities with emergency shelters for extreme weather conditions

Winter and extreme weather shelter beds are now available in communities around the province, including Chilliwack.

With the winter weather arriving earlier this week, the province announced that all regular winter shelter spaces will be open overnight, every night.

“Everyone needs access to a safe and warm place to stay, especially during extreme weather conditions,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The health and safety of people living on the street will always be a priority for our government and their well-being is especially concerning during the cold and wet winter months, when prolonged exposure to extreme conditions could be fatal.”

Extreme weather response shelters will be available when communities issue extreme weather alerts. Individual municipalities determine which weather conditions warrant an alert, and how many spaces to activate on a given night, depending on shelter capacity and the estimated need. Both regular winter shelters and extreme weather response shelters will be in operation now until March 31.

In Chilliwack, those spaces are at Ruth and Naomi’s on Margaret Ave., the Salvation Army on Yale Road, and Cyrus Centre on Wellington Ave. (youth only).

According to B.C. Housing, Emergency shelters are available if:

  • You are an individual or family that does not have a permanent address or residence.
  • You are living and sleeping in public spaces including on the street.
  • You need a place to stay after you left a hospital, rehabilitation centre, treatment centre or correctional facility.
  • You need a place to stay in extremely wet or cold winter weather.
  • You need a place to stay because you left a situation where you were exploited financially, sexually, physically or emotionally.
  • You are living in a temporary situation where you don’t know how long you can stay, for example at a friend’s house, or in a place without a rental agreement.
  • You have less than three months to find a new place to stay after your landlord gave you notice to move out.

The provincial government is partnering with local governments and non-profit organizations to provide more than 640 winter shelter spaces and more than 800 extreme weather response shelter spaces in more than 40 communities. These spaces supplement the almost 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter spaces available throughout British Columbia.

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