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As Metro Vancouver grapples with homelessness everywhere, new-style winter shelters spread to suburbs

October 20th, 2015 · No Comments

Fall. The leaves fall, the days get shorter, the City of Vancouver and Housing Minister Rich Coleman get into a tug of war over how much money for winter shelters for the region’s homeless people.

This year, things are a bit different. The minister is spending almost a million dollars to fund the Vancouver-style shelters in Maple Ridge and Surrey for the first time, places that are some pretty serious homeless problems. That’s shelters that are open 24/7 from October or November to March, instead of the old-style response, which was only to open mat programs in community facilities on the worst nights.

Vancouver was pushing to get 160 to 200 spaces funded by the province. But Coleman said in my story here that the city would only get what it got last year. (That was 80 spaces in two shelters where the city found the sites and helped pay for some improvements, another 30 at Union Gospel Mission.)

Still awaiting word on where the sites are and whether the minister might be persuaded to pay for any more. (And I read, via my pal Kelly Sinoski at the Vancouver Sun, that Abbotsford would like one of these new-style winter shelters.)

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