140 more beds available than this time last year
By Jake Wray, News Editor
Seasonal homeless shelters in Vancouver that provide relief during the winter months will offer more beds than they did last year, according to a press release from the BC government.
10 shelters with 3o0 beds—an increase over 160 emergency shelter beds last winter—will open on November 1. The release said that in previous years winter shelters didn’t open until December. The provincial government provided approximately $2.8 million in funding for the shelters—a 75 per cent increase over the $1.6 million in provincial funding in 2016.
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson said the extra beds are available because of the extra funding from the provincial government.
“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,” he said in the release. “We’re grateful for the BC 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 City of Vancouver provided $720,000 in funding for the shelters.
Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing, said the provincial government is working on long-term initiatives to combat homelessness, on top of the temporary winter shelter program.
“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,” she said in the release. “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.”