Street community accessing services amid frigid weather

The weather is forecast to warm up in the region later this week, but rain is expected

Not all local shelters were filled to capacity during the recent cold snap, but staff and volunteers helping the homeless stay warm and dry gained good experience for what may be to come.

Jen Bacon, regional co-ordinator for the Greater Victoria Extreme Weather Response Plan, said the response – especially over the weekend where gaps in daytime service exist –  went smoothly.

“Everybody was able to do what they needed to do and be where they needed to be,” she said.

Temperatures dipped well below freezing around the region on Friday and Saturday, when the overnight low hit a Dec. 7-8 record of -9.8 C, beating the former record of -9.4 C set in 1956. The chill sent the street community to shelters that included Our Place on Pandora Avenue.

The facility’s 30 mats were spoken for as soon as the overnight shelter opened Friday through Sunday, said executive director Don Evans. At some points through the weekend, they had to send people up Quadra Street to sleep at St. John the Divine Church.

“We didn’t actually close, we stayed open all day and all night and evening,” Evans said.

While the mats were full, he added, people were coming in during the night to warm up, grab a cup of coffee or something to eat and watch TV.

Some people stayed in the courtyard to be close to a place where they could access services. Where other shelters require those users to bed down for the night, Evans said, Our Place allows people to come in without sleeping.

“Some people have social anxiety and stay up through the night for safety reasons,” he said. “We’re trying to serve that underserved community and trying to break down the barriers.”

The extreme weather protocol has been in effect since Dec. 1. Stage 2, which activates more beds at local shelters, was not needed last weekend because there were enough beds to accommodate all those seeking shelter.

The weather is forecast to warm up in the region later this week, but rain is expected.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Bulk or boxed candy? Trick-or-treat maps help Canadian families prepare for Halloween

Census Mapper uses 2016 census data to predict busiest neighbourhoods

Black Press Media celebrates women who are making a difference

Helping others is the cornerstone of the work Shannon Drew does in… Continue reading

Goldstream Food Bank on the search to fill Christmas Hampers with toys

Volunteers are looking for new toys for infants to 11-year-olds

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read