With colder weather already hitting parts of the province, the Government of B.C. is opening additional shelter spaces to ensure people experiencing homelessness have access to a safe and warm place to stay.
“Temporary and extreme weather shelters are crucial to ensuring the health and safety of people living on the street and getting them out of the cold and wet weather,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These shelters not only have the potential to save lives — they also assist people in accessing the support and services they need to achieve housing stability.”
In partnership with municipalities and non-profits in approximately 65 communities around B.C., the Province is providing more than 1,400 temporary shelter spaces and over 750 extreme weather response shelter spaces.
All temporary shelter spaces will be open overnight and every night, with many open 24/7, as well as providing meals. Many temporary shelter spaces have already opened for the season and more will continue to open starting Nov. 1, 2018.
The additional extreme weather response spaces will be available from Nov. 1, 2018, until March 31, 2019, and will open when a community issues an extreme weather alert. Communities decide what weather conditions warrant an alert and how many spaces to activate on a given night, depending on the capacity of existing shelters and the estimated need.
The temporary and extreme weather response shelter spaces supplement the almost 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter spaces available throughout British Columbia. More temporary shelters and extreme weather shelters may be added throughout the season when needed and where appropriate.
The Government of B.C. also funds outreach teams that work throughout the province at shelters and on the street to help connect people experiencing homelessness with housing and support services, such as income assistance and mental-health services.
A complete list of shelters by community is included in the backgrounders below.
- Through the Building BC Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the Province is investing $291 million to build 2,000 homes throughout B.C., and more than $170 million over three years for 24/7 staffing and support services. More than 2,000 of these homes have been announced in 22 B.C. communities.
- The Province is also investing $1.2 billion over 10 years in the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund, which will create 2,500 units of supportive housing for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
- The opening of temporary and extreme weather shelters build on the work government is doing to reduce poverty in British Columbia. In October 2018, the B.C. government introduced the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act. Informed by thousands of people who participated in a comprehensive public consultation, the act sets out targets and defines the scope of the poverty reduction strategy, which will be released in early 2019.
To learn more about the Province’s emergency shelter program, visit: www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/emergency-shelter-program
To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., visit: www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map
Two backgrounders follow.