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Freezing temperature forecast triggers emergency weather alert by Victoria homeless shelter

Salvation Army A.R.C. to provide shelter from 8:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m.
Victoria’s homeless population struggles with the winter weather in this photo taken in January 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)

Freezing temperatures through the night of Dec. 19 have prompted the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness to announce an extreme weather alert as shelter spaces are expanded and Victoria police have received new authority when it comes to transporting individuals out of the cold.

The coalition issued the extreme weather alert in response to a forecast of below 0 C throughout the night of Sunday, Dec. 19, in compliance with BC Housing protocol for abnormal weather in Victoria, including heavy snow, rain or sleet.

The co-ed Salvation Army A.R.C. shelter located at 525 Johnson St. will provide warm soup from 8:30 to 10 p.m. and an overnight space until 7:30 a.m. for those experiencing homelessness, according to a press release. Pets or shopping carts will not be permitted.

READ ALSO: Daytime warming centres to now open for Victoria homeless during emergency weather events

The coalition’s emergency weather response coordinator, Nina Grossman, said other homelessness societies – including Our Place and Cool Aid – will also provide emergency shelter at their usual locations across Victoria.

The City of Victoria will not be opening their warming centres Sunday evening, Grossman said.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria facing domestic violence shelter space crisis

In addition, the emergency alert permits Victoria police to voluntarily transport people experiencing homelessness to a shelter or order that they go to a shelter unescorted.

“If a person at risk refuses to comply with or fails to respond to the police officer’s request, the police officer, using reasonable force if necessary, may transport the person at risk to an emergency shelter,” reads the act.

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