Unseasonably cold weather in Victoria is prompting frontline homeless advocates to plead for warm clothing from generous locals.
During his daily early morning outreach, Rev. Al Tysick of the Victoria Dandelion Society is noticing a spike in the number of homeless people suffering from pneumonia, frostbite and hacking coughs.
Tysick and his team are often the first point of contact for many homeless in the region.
Last week, B.C. Housing launched its extreme weather protocol to open up emergency shelter spaces during below-freezing weather.
“But there are still some people that, due to their behaviour or their choice, are not going into those shelters and I’m the one serving those people. They’re often barred from those organizations,” Tysick said.
Victoria’s average monthly temperature in November is 9.4 C, but the past week saw temperatures below freezing overnight.
The Dandelion Society is looking for toques, warm gloves, socks, heavy sweaters, jackets, blankets, waterproof materials and sleeping bags. Hand warmers are also highly valued, Tysick said.
“We don’t have an office, we try to put as much money back onto the street. So cash donations are always helpful as well,” he said.
Visit hopeliveshere.ca to donate or learn more.