More than 100 homeless sleeping in shelters in Abbotsford as temperatures plunge

Donations of supplies needed for extreme weather shelters.

A storage room at Mennonite Central Committee is being used as an extreme weather shelter with temperatures dipping below minus-10 overnight.

More than 100 homeless men and women in Abbotsford are sleeping in shelters this week as temperatures dip well below freezing throughout the Fraser Valley.

In addition to 30 emergency mats at existing cold-weather shelters operated by Cyrus Centre and the Salvation Army, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) opened its doors last week to provide a warm place to stay for another 20 people. The spaces are staffed and funded by BC Housing.

Still, Jesse Wegenast, of 5 and 2 Ministries, which is operating the MCC shelter space, says those 50 spots weren’t enough Sunday night, and space had to be found for more people.

“No one operating one of these is going to let someone freeze outside,” he said. “We just have to get creative.”

The emergency shelters have been open since Thursday and will stay open throughout the week, with temperatures expected to be as low as minus 10 overnight.

Wegenast predicts the number of people seeking shelter will only increase.

“We’re expecting to see more as time goes on.”

In addition to the approximately 50 people staying in the emergency shelters, another 40 are housed in the temporary winter shelter on Riverside Road, with around two dozen more at the Salvation Army’s long-term shelter, bringing the total to well over 100.

That figure is more than double the number of shelter spaces – both emergency and otherwise – the city had available just a couple years ago.

“It’s been great to see the additional 20 beds to come on stream,” said Cyrus Centre’s Les Talvio, who co-ordinates the city’s extreme weather response. “It’s been a real community effort working with MCC and 5 and 2, and the Salvation Army.”

Although the new space is helpful, operators of extreme-weather shelters have a significant need for a range of products. They include: socks and underwear; gloves; blankets or sleeping bags; sleeping mats; hand and foot warmers; gently used footwear; feminine hygiene products; first aid supplies; styrofoam or paper cups; coffee and creamer/sugar; and snacks and food.

Supplies can be dropped off at Cyrus Centre or the Salvation Army.

 

Just Posted

Community-funded recording grant benefits Abbotsford songwriters

Common Room Music Collective starts ongoing grant to help musicians with recording costs

Langley – revving up for the cause

Two local cancer patients receive a bit of financial aid from a recent Langley charity car show

Dainty Dish signs off with Abbotsford School District

25-year partnership saw over 1.8 million lunches served; future of school lunch program unclear

Rolling with the punches: Abbotsford Mission Boxing Club finds new home

Club moves from Mission to Maclure Road in Abbotsford

Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s ER expansion still in the works

Deadline for construction proposals recently closes, but construction timeline unknown

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read