On Friday night, the final of the City's winter emegrency shelters opened in Kitsilano on the City's West Side. Located on West 4th near the Granville Street bridge, the shelter will provide up to forty people with a safe place to sleep at night, along with two meals a day.
The West 4th Avenue shelter will be operated by the Motivation, Power and Achievement Society (MPA). The society provides supported housing and has been a leader in community mental health service delivery in the neighbourhood for over 38 years.
At least two MPA staff will be at the shelter at all times. As with other shelters opened under the 2010 Winter Response Program, shelter users will receive two meals each day and can bring shopping carts and pets into the facility.
A bed reservation system will reduce line-ups and access to adequate washroom facilities will be ensured. The shelter will remain open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. A community open house is planned for January 28, 2010 to provide information on shelter operations and 24-hour agency contacts for neighbours.
Emergency winter shelters are funded in 2010 through a $1.2 million contribution from the Government of British Columbia and $500,000 from the City. Shelter locations are chosen based on need and the number of homeless in the area.
In the past month, three other temporary shelters have opened at 677 East Broadway, 1435 Granville Street and 747 Cardero Street. They join temporary emergency shelters at 320 East Hastings, 51 West Cordova Street and 201 Central Avenue.
Photography: Jay Black