Rich Coleman Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for Housing has said that We will continue to work with our community partners to provide shelter for those in need, which also gives people the opportunity to connect with support services that lead to more stable, permanent housing.
During the cold weather, the provincial government is doing our part to ensure people in need of shelter have access to a safe, warm place to stay.
This winter, we have added close to 540 additional temporary shelter spaces in 16 communities, including more than 300 beds in Vancouver. Most of these shelters are open 24/7 and provide three meals a day.
We are also spending $1.6 million to support over 1,000 emergency shelter spaces throughout the province that are activated when local communities issue an extreme weather alert. The average capacity for these shelters is about 60%. In Vancouver, the average capacity is 57%. Emergency shelter operators assure us that no one has been or will be turned away if they need a warm place to sleep. At times that the emergency shelter capacity has come close to being full in a community, we have provided additional funding for more beds.
In addition, we recently extended funding for more than 115 winter shelter spaces in Vancouver to allow them to remain open seven nights a week. This includes keeping three shelters that were only opening during periods of severe weather open every night until the end of January.
Including the permanent, year-round shelter beds in B.C., there are more than 3,700 shelter spaces available in communities throughout the province.