Cold weather shelter too full, buses homeless to other communities

The Gateway of Hope shelter has had send some people to other shelters as they ran out of room.

Langley’s Gateway of Hope homeless shelter is so full that on a few nights this year, it has had to turn away people from its Extreme Weather Response program.

The program activates on particularly cold and wet nights, and provides an additional 15 beds, bringing the total number of mats to 45, including the regular emergency shelter.

“Some nights we’re full, last night [Sunday], we only had five,” said Tiffany Sawatzky, the residential services manager at Gateway of Hope.

On a few nights, they have had more than 15 people and have had to turn people away. Sawatzky said they have never turned away more than three people.

To help people who still need somewhere to sleep, the shelter is running a BC Housing pilot project that gives people free bus tickets and listings of shelters in other communities. Most of them are in Surrey.

But Sawatzky said sometimes people don’t want to leave the Langley area and don’t accept the tickets.

“It’s busier when it rains,” Sawatzky said. Rain makes it harder to keep warm.

The Extreme Weather Response has been running in Langley for more than a decade. Before Gateway of Hope was built, the program hosted people in local churches.

So far, the program has been activated for 12 nights this year.

The Gateway of Hope currently already has a large number of shelter beds. Last year, BC Housing provided funding to expand its shelter program to deal with a surge of people expected after Langley City closed down a homeless camp in a park on the Nicomekl River floodplain. The camp was cleared out partly because of fears for the campers’ safety, in an area where water can rise quickly during heavy rain.

That program was meant to be temporary, lasting through the winter of 2016/17, but it has been renewed and has now run for more than a year and a half.

There are presently no plans to expand the shelter, but BC Housing is planning for a 49-room supportive housing project in the former Quality Inn near 200th Street and 66th Avenue.

That project has proved controversial with nearby residents.

• Read More: Residents seek info on Langley supportive housing plans

Just Posted

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

B.C. Sports Hall of Fame to give Giants owner Ron Toigo W.A.C. Bennett Award

Head of Langley-based team has been involved with junior hockey since the 1990s

VIDEO: Young Langley boy uses his grief to help other kids suffering loss

Thursday Langley Hospice hosts its Paint the Town Blue campaign to spotlight child bereavement.

No charges against cop accused of stuffing money into sock during search

BC Prosecution Service says not enough evidence against Abbotsford officer

‘Scrap-metal sweetie’ makes Langley centrefold

Most pictures in Langley’s 2019 firefighters’ calendar feature members with their own pets.

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Baloney Meter: Will tougher penalties for gang members make Canada safer?

Since 2013, gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have almost doubled

Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

Some departments said it’s too early to provide data, others said initial numbers suggest stoned driving isn’t on the rise

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Most Read