Temporary extreme weather shelters are now open across Greater Victoria as temperatures drop with snow in the forecast. Carli Berry/BLACK PRESS

Winter shelters open as temperatures drop across Greater Victoria

Emergency spaces open at 919 Pandora and 525 Johnson St. after extreme weather alerts issued

An extreme weather protocol alert activated Thursday continues as temperatures dip below zero on the south island and more snow is expected across Greater Victoria.

Extreme weather shelters are now open across the region, as part of the Extreme Weather Protocol community program, a partnership between faith groups, social service agencies, local fire and police. The program allows them to work together to increase the number of shelter spaces available as temperatures near zero, and sleet, freezing rain and snow make it impossible to remain dry for those most vulnerable on the city’s streets.

Regular winter shelters will be open overnight every night – many 24/7 – providing meals and health services. Shelters offering temporary space during extreme weather alerts include 919 Pandora Avenue and 525 Johnson Street.

“The health and safety of people living on the street will always be a priority for our government,” Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson said. “Their well-being is especially concerning during the cold and wet winter months, when prolonged exposure to extreme conditions could be fatal.”

Under the program, the number of shelters jumps to 430 from 325 providing emergency shelter beds and mats. Currently there are 395 shelter spaces available in Greater Victoria. Volunteers are always needed and donations of blankets, self inflating mats, socks, mittens, jackets, hats and toques are always welcome.

Both regular winter shelters and extreme weather response shelters will be in operation from Nov. 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018.

Check www.vewp.net for more details and a daily list of shelters that are open or follow check in on Facebook or Twitter for updates. A list of the province’s temporary shelters is also here.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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