Shelter beds added for cold weather protocol

Funding from provincial government enables provision of extreme weather overnight shelter

Three organizations in Victoria will be able to provide overnight extreme weather shelter for those in need this winter thanks to funding from the provincial government.

Our Place Society, the Victoria Cool Aid Society and the Salvation Army will have a total of 120 spaces available. Province-wide, the B.C. government’s $1.6 million funding will help more than 90 communities in B.C. make additional shelter spaces available.

“The winters can be really tough on people who are living in the street, especially when it is wet and cold,” said Grant McKenzie, director of communications at Our Place, which is able to offer 20 additional spaces with this year’s funding.

For Victoria, the provincial government defines extreme weather as being -1 degree Celsius, said McKenzie. However, if it is above that temperature but it is windy and raining, it could still be classified as extreme weather. If an extreme weather warning is issued by the province, then the shelter will be open. During those times, Our Place has 50 mats set up downstairs for people to sleep, starting at 7:30 p.m.

“At the same time, we have our drop-in so people who don’t want to sleep, but still want to have a dry place to be can come without disturbing the people who want to sleep.”

Our Place has hired outreach workers on contract who are on call to work overnight when the extreme weather warning is issued.

Our Place also has hot showers available, as well as a clothing program and a food program. Recently, someone donated an industrial-sized washer and dryer to Our Place.

McKenzie said this will allow them to recycle and reuse blankets for the first time.

“We’ll take wet, dirty blankets and exchange them for a dry, clean blanket.”

Last year, McKenzie said there were 36 nights of extreme weather.

Unlike Our Place Society, the Victoria Cool Aid Society will be able to provide overnight shelter every night from November until the end of March. Starting on Nov. 1, people could get their name on the list for one of the 40 mats available at the Cool Aid Downtown Community Activity Centre. As long as they show up at 10 p.m. every night, people are able to sleep at the centre for the entire five months. At 10:15 p.m., mats will be given away to others who show up. The shelter is open from 10 p.m. To 6:30 a.m. each day.

“We’re always at 100 per cent capacity,” said Joann Connolly, coordinator of Cool Aid Society’s seasonal shelter. “There is a need, and not just through the winter.”

Just Posted

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Victoria Police seize drugs, replica firearms and $50,000 in cash after searching Victoria home

A property in the 600-block of Manchester Avenue is focus of investigation

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

Federal government funds 60 ‘micro-loft’ rental units set to open on Fort Street

The Sawyer Block at 840 Fort St. will house affordable units and a small amount of retail space

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read