Winnipeg to open pop-up shelter on frigid days to keep vulnerable people out of cold

Winnipeg’s mayor says the city wants to help keep vulnerable residents out of the cold this winter.

In an announcement Wednesday, Scott Gillingham said the city is spending $200,000 on a new pop-up shelter capacity to be located at Siloam Mission.

End Homelessness Winnipeg is providing an additional $65,000 toward the project, which is intended to open if the overnight feels like it is -10 C or colder with the windchill, and when all existing shelters are already full. It will be staffed by workers from organizations including Siloam, 1JustCity, Main Street Project, and Sunshine House.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg shelters prepare for cold'

Winnipeg shelters prepare for cold

“We need to get people out of bus shelters and connect them with appropriate supports,” Gillingham said in a statement.

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“This funding will help ensure everyone in Winnipeg has a safe, warm place to go during extreme weather periods, delivering on our shared commitment to build a stronger city where every individual is valued, supported, and protected.”

The decision to open the shelter will be made three days in advance, he said, depending on weather and other conditions, and it will stay open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., providing shelter, snacks, coffee, and activities.

Siloam CEO Tessa-Blaikie Whitecloud said the need is there for the initiative, but she’d like to see a more permanent solution in future.

“We’re excited to be hosting this important initiative made possible thanks to collaboration in our sector to make sure that there’s a space for everyone as these months get colder,” she said.

“This short-term solution is needed this winter, but I hope in future winters we’ll have seen the investment and construction of housing units so that it is not needed.”

Click to play video: 'Funding to help shelters stay open 24/7 during winter'

Funding to help shelters stay open 24/7 during winter

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