This bulletin just out from the mayor’s office.
Mayor announces HEAT shelter numbers from December
“No barrier” facilities provide shelter for almost 300 a night
Almost 300 homeless people found shelter every night over the past three weeks in emergency facilities opened by the Homeless Emergency Action Team (HEAT), Mayor Gregor Robertson said today.
More than 4,000 visits to emergency facilities were reported during the first two weeks of operation in December, providing shelter for 280 people each night.
“The facilities that HEAT helped open in the final weeks of December have provided safe, secure shelter for close to 300 people a night,” Robertson said. “All three shelters were at capacity, providing refuge for some of the hardest-to-house people living on our streets.”
The Homeless Emergency Action Team, or HEAT, was launched on December 9th. The 13-person team, composed of City staff, council members, health and safety professionals, and housing stakeholders, works to take immediate action in getting people off the street and into shelter this winter.
Robertson said there was a “no barrier” approach taken by HEAT shelters, which has been the key to bringing homeless people in off the street during the recent cold weather.
“Many homeless people are reluctant to come to a shelter, often because they can’t bring certain personal belongings inside,” said Robertson. “HEAT helped make sure that these emergency shelters allow people with pets and shopping carts. By removing barriers and putting the housing of people first, the Homeless Emergency Action Team has been able to help bring people in off the street at night.”
The three facilities opened in the first phase of the HEAT shelter strategy are:
· First United Church, which through contributions of $10,000 from the City, the Province, the Streetohome Foundation, and St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church, can remain open 24/7 for the next two months; and
· 1435 Granville and the Stanley New Fountain, which are funded through contributions of $500,000 from the City, the Province, and the Streetohome Foundation.
The shelters reported the following capacities for the last half of December:
· The First United Church had roughly 210 people a night since December 19th;
1 1435 Granville, operated by RainCity Housing, had a total of 429 people stay over the course of December 20th- January 1st, for an average of 33 people a night; and
· The Stanley New Fountain Hotel, operated by the Portland Hotel Society, had 549 people stay over the course of December 19th – January 2nd, with an average of 37 people a night.
- Another shelter at 240 Northern Way—the third to be opened under a three-way partnership between the City, the Province, and the Streetohome Foundation—is expected to hold between 80-100 people. It will open during the week of January 12th.
“The fact that these no-barrier shelters filled up within days of opening shows how dire the situation on our streets is,” said Mayor Robertson.
“The City, in partnership with the Province and other housing stakeholders, needs to continue to work towards ending homelessness – and that means we need to be creating more permanent, long-term housing. These shelters are just a small, temporary step, and there is a lot more work to be done.”