Greater Victoria has a shortage of extreme weather shelter beds


There is a shortage of extreme weather shelter beds in Greater Victoria, and the city of Victoria is scrambling to find space.

Fifteen tier-2 spots, or emergency mats, are expected to be approved by city council tomorrow (Thurs).  They would be at the "My Place" shelter, run by Our Place.  That's at the old Boys and Girls Club in the 12-hundred block Yates.

Executive Director Don  Evans explains what led to the shortage:

" Because the Native Friendship Centre who ran an extreme weather shelter last year is now running a seasonal shelter.  And we also had some beds available at the Seventh Day Adventists last year which aren't available this year due to some plumbing issues, and so ... we're going to have as many shelter beds in the whole system, but on the extreme weather nights there will be fewer beds available for that because of some of the beds that are now over at the native friendship centre every night. "

Adding to the crunch, Rock Bay Landing no longer provides overflow beds.

The area has 220 regular shelter spaces available, and 145 temporary spaces available between November and April. When the Extreme Weather Protocol is enacted 85 tier-1 emergency mats are opened. And if all of those are full 15 tier-2 emergency mats are made available. 

Last year tier-2 spots were needed 6 times, but Evans expects there will be more call for them this winter.

Meantime Evans says Our Place is still looking for vacant space, including out in Sooke.  And over the winter Leadership Victoria will do a mapping project aimed at identifying possible shelter location across the region.

Would you welcome a visit from climate change activist Greta Thunberg to Victoria?

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