City of Vancouver extends warming centre operations amid cold snap

The City of Vancouver has extended the hours of its warming centres amid a spell of cold weather.

There are four locations for people to escape the cold: The Vancouver Public Library’s Central branch, the Britannia Community Centre and West End Community Centre and the Powell Street Getaway will all be open until Thursday.

The city says it may keep the shelters open beyond that if the cold weather remains.

It’s the third year for the program and dozens are using the resource, which offers people a place to stay overnight as well as food and drink.

“We don’t want people sleeping outside when it’s this cold so we’re opening extra spaces across the city to safeguard life,” Abi Bond, director of homelessness services with the City of Vancouver, said.

“It’s really people’s choice about what they do, but our outreach teams are in regular contact trying to get people to take that next step to come inside.”

The city said up to 100 people used warming centres on any given night last year.

Anyone looking for shelter space can call 211 for assistance.

Jeremy Hunka of Union Gospel Mission said they are looking for donations of cold-weather items like jackets, boots and sweaters.

“Those things can make a difference if you just don’t have anywhere to go at night,” he said.

— With files from Neetu Garcha

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