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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Not over yet: Mixture of snow, freezing rain on way as winter storm tapers in Lower Mainland

Environment Canada releases weather alert for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley

WEATHER: Another wintry storm to hit Langley

Some Friday morning University classes are cancelled due to weather conditions

Aldergrove soccer player makes history as first in CPL sold to another league

Midfielder Joel Waterman was transferred from Calgary’s Cavalry FC to a U.S. Major League soccer team

Aldergrove pool shut down amid ‘extremely cold weather’

It was a circumstance foretold by Aldergrove pool society advocates in 2015

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

VIDEO: Semi driver records 22 crashes in one icy trip from Chilliwack to Abbotsford

‘Treacherous’ morning had emergency crews struggling to reach stranded drivers

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Most Read