Extreme Weather Shelter Beds Are Being Offered In Greater Victoria
Shelters in Greater Victoria are opening more spaces now that the Extreme Weather Protocol (EWP) has been activated.
The EWP is triggered when temperatures drop below 0 degrees; during heavy rain or snowfall; or when weather warnings are in effect.
The opening of the additional spaces brings the amount of beds available up to 410, a list of where the people can seek shelter can be found here.
Jen Wilde, Regional Director of the Greater Victoria Extreme Weather Response Program, says the EWP is a community program run by social service organizations, various faith groups, and fire and police departments.
Wilde says there are three types of shelters. All year shelters run 24/7/365, temporary shelters run seasonally from fall to spring, and then the Extreme Weather Shelters are open only on nights when the weather matches the criteria for the Emergency Response Program. She says "Our program is slightly different than the regular shelter programs. It's more akin to like what would happen during an earthquake response in Victoria. So for instance, if we had an earthquake and we were opening earthquake shelters, that's more akin to what we are doing. So there aren't very many barriers for people accessing that particular program, there isn't restrictions or requirements for people, it's simply just an opportunity for people to get in out of the cold."
She says Extreme Weather Shelters don't have any requirements, people just have to show up, and they will be provided with a sleeping mat and blanket, and at some places, a hot meal.
Wilde adds that shelters could also use donations to help people. She says warm clothes, hats, socks, and blankets are especially appreciated during this time of year, and can be donated to the Salvation Army, Rock Bay Landing Shelter, and Our Place Society. From there the goods are distributed to those in need.