A record number of people have been coming to the Gateway of Hope homeless shelter since it issued its ongoing Extreme Weather Alert on Dec. 4.
According to Cameron Eggie, residential services manager at Gateway, most nights the shelter has been housing more than 80 people.
“We’ve been so busy. This has been a very long stretch of open days for us. We are going through donations very quickly,” said Eggie.
Winter weather has come early this season in Metro Vancouver with freezing temperatures, relentless rain and plenty of snow.
With temperatures expected to dip to as low as -10 Celsius this week, the Extreme Weather Alert remains in effect and extra mats are ready.
“Since Dec. 4 when we opened our extreme weather (shelter space) we’ve seen up to 28 additional people, bringing our totals well over historical averages, which is more than we had ever anticipated,” Eggie said. “So we’ve been stretched with resources, and stretched with donations and staff, as well. It’s definitely been a busy season.”
Eggie hopes the cold snaps breaks. “There is just so many people who need help and they can’t stay outside. When there’s extreme weather, we don’t turn anybody away.”