New indoor shelter spaces open for winter weather
People experiencing homelessness have additional warm and safe indoor shelter options as winter weather settles over British Columbia.
So far this season, the Province, through BC Housing, has funded approximately 2,080 temporary winter shelter spaces and more than 480 extreme weather response (EWR) shelters. Most of these temporary spaces are open and the remainder will open in the coming weeks. BC Housing will continue to work with providers and municipalities to open additional shelter spaces in communities where there is need.
With the new spaces, more than 4,910 shelter spaces are open in 50 communities throughout the province, including permanent, temporary and EWR shelters. It is expected that more EWR spaces will open as additional locations are identified by communities.
- Permanent shelters: These shelters are open every night throughout the year and are a permanent resource in communities. There are approximately 2,350 permanent shelter spaces operating throughout B.C.
- Temporary shelters: These shelters are open every night during winter, and most shelters operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with meals provided. Some temporary shelters are seasonal and will close on March 31, 2023, while others will remain open longer.
- Extreme weather response (EWR) shelters: These spaces open overnight when a community issues an extreme weather alert, such as during cold temperatures, snow, heavy rain or significant wind. Communities determine what weather conditions warrant an extreme weather alert and determine the number of extreme weather spaces to activate. EWR funding is seasonal and will remain available until April 15, 2023, which is when EWR shelters will close.
Shelter programs are made possible through partnerships with communities and non-profit groups throughout the province to provide immediate places to stay for anyone who is experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Additionally, through Emergency Management BC, the Province provided guidelines to local governments and First Nations about eligible reimbursements for warming centres during extreme weather. Warming centres are an emergency measure established by communities for people to warm up and get information about how to safely stay warm in their own homes. Communities may be reimbursed for costs to establish warming centres, including facility rental and fuel costs.
In addition to these shelters, since 2017, BC Housing has partnered with non-profit housing providers, municipalities and health authorities to fund and open almost 4,750 new supportive housing spaces throughout B.C. for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This includes leased hotel spaces that were opened in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and remain available to prevent people from being displaced, as well as supportive housing.
While the Province has invested in thousands of shelter spaces and new supportive homes, there is an urgent need for more permanent housing spaces. There are 2,300 new supportive homes underway throughout B.C., and BC Housing continues to work with municipalities, health authorities and throughout government to create more permanent solutions that address people’s unique needs.
The B.C. government is investing $633 million in new initiatives over three years, aimed at helping to prevent and reduce chronic homelessness in the province. These investments include:
- $35 million over three years for new and increased supports for young people in government care until the age of 27, including a new financial supplement, a no-limit earnings exemption, help with the cost of housing, improved access to transition workers, enhanced life skills and mental-health programs, and better medical benefits;
- as much as $600-per-month rent supplements with integrated health and social supports that will help more than 3,000 people with low incomes access housing in the private market over the next three years;
- more than doubling the current number of community-integration specialists to help people experiencing homelessness navigate government programs and available supports in communities throughout the province;
- $164 million over three years to expand government’s complex-care housing program, to help B.C.’s most vulnerable people with complex health, mental-health and substance-use challenges who may need a level of support that goes beyond what the current model of supportive housing can provide; and
- $264 million over three years for a permanent housing plan to ensure the approximately 3,000 people who were temporarily housed during the COVID-19 pandemic do not return to homelessness.
To see a map of all permanent, temporary and EWR shelters throughout communities in B.C., visit: https://smap.bchousing.org/
To find a warming centre, visit: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/extreme-cold-multiple-locations-in-bc/
To learn about the Province’s emergency shelter program, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/emergency-shelter-program
A backgrounder follows.
Shelter spaces opening for winter season
The Province, through BC Housing, is funding more than 4,910 shelter spaces in 50 communities throughout the province for winter 2022-23, including permanent, temporary, and extreme weather response (EWR) shelters. Listed below are the shelter spaces that will open in six of B.C.’s major cities.
For a full list of shelters throughout B.C., visit: https://smap.bchousing.org/. Shelter information is updated daily. For shelter bed availability, people are encouraged to reach out to their local shelter.
Shelters – 1,483 spaces:
- Directions Youth Resource Centre (youth only), 1138 Burrard St., 10 EWR spaces
- Langara YMCA, 282 49th Ave. W., 30 EWR spaces
- Cascades Church, 3833 Boundary Rd., 10 EWR spaces
- The Salvation Army Belkin House, 555 Homer St., 20 EWR spaces
- The Osborn, 27 Hastings St. W., 20 EWR spaces
- Directions Youth Resource Centre (youth only), 1138 Burrard St., 12 temporary spaces
- Gathering Place Community Centre, 609 Helmcken St., 34 temporary spaces
- First Avenue Shelter, 1648 East 1st Ave., 32 temporary spaces
- Downtown Eastside Womens Shelter (women only), 265 East Hastings St., 32 temporary spaces
- Walton Hotel, 261 East Hastings St., 15 temporary spaces
- The Sisterhood (women only), 342 Alexander St., 21 temporary spaces
- The Salvation Army Harbour Light, 119 East Cordova St., 40 temporary spaces
- Sisters Shelter (women only), 131 Dunlevy Ave., 16 temporary spaces
- Hornby Shelter, 1401 Hornby St., 40 temporary spaces
- Metson Shelter, 1060 Howe St., 40 temporary spaces
- The Osborn, 15-27 West Hastings St., 99 temporary spaces
- WISH Shelter, 340 Alexander St., 23 temporary spaces
- Men’s Hostel (men only), 1056 Comox St., 20 temporary spaces
- Klahowya Tillicum Lalum, 875 Terminal Ave., 60 temporary spaces
- Evelyne Saller Centre, 404 Alexander St., 42 temporary spaces
- Yukon St. Shelter, 2088 Yukon St., 71 permanent spaces
- Al Mitchell Shelter, 346 Alexander St., 46 permanent spaces
- First United Church Shelter, 467 Alexander St., 49 permanent spaces
- RainCity Emergency Shelter, 707 Powell St., 28 permanent spaces
- Springhouse Shelter (women only), 333 East 16th Ave., 32 permanent spaces
- Powell Place Emergency Shelter (women only), 329 Powell St., 52 permanent spaces
- The Salvation Army Belkin House, 555 Homer St., 81 permanent spaces
- Vi Fineday Family Shelter, 1906 15th Ave. W., 18 permanent spaces
- DTES Women’s Shelter (women only), 412 East Cordova St., 57 permanent spaces
- Aboriginal Shelter, 201 Central St., 100 permanent spaces
- Covenant House Shelter (youth 16 to 24 only), 1302 Seymour St., 22 permanent spaces
- New Fountain Shelter, 356 East Hastings, 60 permanent spaces
- Catholic Charities Men’s Hostel (men only), 1056 Comox St., 102 permanent spaces
- Crosswalk Shelter, 108 East Hastings St., 36 permanent spaces
- The Beacon (men only), 108 East Hastings St., 66 permanent spaces
- The Haven (men only), 108 East Hastings St., 34 permanent spaces
- The Lark, 103 East Hastings St., 14 permanent spaces
Shelters – 546 spaces:
- 10453 Whalley Blvd., 10 EWR spaces
- 9165 160 St., 14 EWR spaces
- 13474 96 Ave., 30 EWR spaces
- 13327 100A Ave., 6 EWR spaces
- 5337 180 St., 25 EWR spaces
- 2350 148 St., 25 EWR spaces
- Lookout Guildford Shelter, 14716 104 Ave., 46 temporary spaces
- SUM Shelter, 10776 King George Blvd., 50 temporary spaces
- Lookout Parkway Shelter, 10667 135A St., 40 temporary and 40 permanent spaces
- The Cove Shelter, 10607 King George Blvd., 43 temporary spaces
- The Olive Branch Shelter, 10731 City Pkwy., 45 temporary spaces
- Hyland House, 6595 King George Blvd., 45 permanent spaces
- Cynthia’s Place, 14337 108 Ave., 14 permanent spaces
- Foxglove Shelter, 9810 Foxglove Dr., 27 permanent spaces
- Bill Reid Place Shelter, 17910 Colebrook Rd., 16 permanent spaces
- Sheena’s Place, 13474 112A Ave., 10 permanent spaces
- Rosewood Shelter, 9683 137 Ave., 60 permanent spaces
Shelters – 383 spaces:
- James Bay United Church, 511 Michigan St., 30 EWR spaces
- Rock Bay Landing, 535 Ellice St., 20 EWR spaces
- Out of the Rain Shelter (youth only), 1450 Elford St., 25 temporary spaces
- Arbutus Shelter, 2915 Douglas St., 30 temporary spaces
- Our Place, 919 Pandora Ave., 34 permanent spaces
- Russell St. Shelter, 225 Russell St., 45 temporary spaces
- Sandy Merriman House (women only), 809 Burdett Ave., 25 permanent spaces
- Salvation Army Community Residential Facility, 525 Johnston St., 21 permanent spaces
- Next Steps Transitional Shelter, 2317 Dowler Place, 15 permanent spaces
- Rock Bay Landing, 535 Ellice St., 84 permanent spaces
- MyPlace, 1240 Yates St., 54 permanent spaces
Shelters – 268 spaces:
- Richter Street Shelter, 1083 Richter St., 48 temporary spaces
- Cornerstone Shelter, 425 Leon Ave., 80 temporary spaces
- Bay Avenue Shelter, 858 Ellis St., 60 temporary spaces
- Kelowna Gospel Mission, 251 Leon Ave., 60 permanent spaces
- Alexandra Gardner Safe Centre, 2609 Richter St., 20 permanent spaces
Shelters – 194 spaces:
- Emerald Centre, 259 Victoria St., 55 permanent spaces
- Merit Place Shelter, 715 Notre Dame Dr., 50 temporary year-round spaces
- Moira House, 600 Kingston Ave., 40 temporary year-round spaces
- Mustard Seed Shelter (women only), 181 Victoria St. West, 25 temporary year-round spaces
- Stuart Wood, 245 St Paul St., 24 temporary spaces
Shelters – 151 spaces:
- AWAC Women's Shelter, 144 George St., 30 permanent spaces, 10 temporary spaces
- Ketso Yoh Centre Men's Hostel, 140 Quebec St., 21 permanent spaces, 15 temporary spaces
- Second Avenue Shelter, 1151 2nd Ave., 30 temporary spaces
- Bridget Moran Place, 590 Dominion St., 30 permanent spaces, 15 temporary spaces