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Vancouver opens 300 shelter spaces for the homeless

A woman walks past a man sleeping on the street in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, February 2017.
A woman walks past a man sleeping on the street in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, February 2017. Darryl Dyck/CP

Homeless people seeking shelter this year will have access to 300 more shelter beds for the cold and wet months ahead.

The B.C. government and the City of Vancouver will open beds at 10 locations throughout the city, starting Nov. 1.

This is an increase from the 160 beds that were provided last year at this time. Each of the 10 locations will be managed by experienced non-profit housing operators.

Selena Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, says these are only a temporary solution to a larger problem.

“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. 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.”

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Homeless man sleeps outside in Vancouver winter 2016. More shelter locations could help this year.
Homeless man sleeps outside in Vancouver winter 2016. More shelter locations could help this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

READ MORE: METRO VANCOUVER HOMELESSNESS

These winter response shelters will open a month earlier than last year, providing relief from November rain and cold.

“We’re grateful for the B.C. government’s funding boost this year to open more shelter spaces, on top of 600 temporary modular homes,” says Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.

“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.”

READ MORE: 40 modular housing units. 600 more coming. Still not enough for Vancouver’s homeless: critics

The Province is providing almost $2.8 million for the additional spaces, a $1.2 million raise compared to last year’s commitment. The city is covering a commitment close to $720,000.

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The locations, listed here, will operate until the end of March 2018, and most will be open 24/7.

 

 

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