Salvation Army adding more space with rise in asylum seekers

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Salvation Army adding space to address rise in asylum seekers
A local emergency shelter is creating more space to cope with the number of asylum seekers coming to our city – Apr 17, 2024

For the second time in six months, the Salvation Army is adding space to address the number of people using emergency shelter services.

A new 80-bed shelter has been set up for men thanks to an influx in newcomers seeking asylum.

The Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope emergency shelter houses more than 400 people on an average night, with around 120 being refugees.

It was back in October when 60 beds were added as part of a “micro-shelter”, according to Centre of Hope Executive Director Mark Stewart.

The new space opened on March 31, with 30 people currently staying there and it’s expected to fill up with refugee claimants in the next few weeks.

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Stewart says they’ve not only been able to house refugees at their main location, but help them with other needs as well.

“We were able to have a refugee claimant hub three days a week where everybody could come to that space and work with outside organizations, ” Stewart said. “Where they could look for jobs, look for housing, look for education, look at multiple different community services that we have.”

The new space will be staffed 24 hours a day and clients will have access to caseworkers, resources, and three meals a day. Mobile showers and washrooms have been brought in to support hygiene needs.

Stewart says, as per usual with moves like these, it’s a joint effort with other shelters around the city, including Siloam Mission. If these numbers continue to rise, he feels they’re ready.

“Working with the other shelters, we know that whatever happens, we’re going to work together to make sure that everyone has a safe and secure place to sleep.”

Numbers from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) show that 310 asylum claimants were processed by the IRCC and Canada Border Services Agency in Manitoba in the first two months of 2024 (170 in January, 140 in February).

In the first two months of 2023, there were 50 asylum claimants processed.

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