REGINA – It’s estimated there are about 130 people in Regina’s emergency shelters, and that number can go up as the temperature drops.
The Salvation Army’s Waterston House typically houses 30 people looking for a warm place to sleep, but the 52 beds usually fill up on colder nights.
“There are a lot of people who prefer not to be in a hostel, but when it’s minus 30 or minus 40, a fellow doesn’t want to freeze,” said Major Wayne McDonough, the executive director.
On the coldest of nights, The Salvation Army will use “overflow mats” on the floor of a recreational room to stretch beyond the 52 beds.
“When you’re at capacity, you’ve got so many different personalities mixing and you’re always concerned some form of upset (is) going to occur,” McDonough said.
Temperature doesn’t change the demand at every shelter.
Whether it’s summer heat or winter chill, Soul’s Harbour Rescue Mission opens its doors to 24 men and women at its gender-specific facilities each night.
“Once factor may be weather, (but another) might be a woman and her children escaping a domestic violence situation presently,” said Katrina Robinson, Soul’s Harbour director of development.
People are allowed to stay up to 30 days, if they need to, connecting with social programs to help ensure they don’t have to return.
“That’s access to free laundry, a warm meal, someone to talk to,” Robinson said.
“There’s so much more to it than just a safe place to sleep.”Follow @mikemckinnon
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