VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The recent blustery wind and rain are especially hard on Metro Vancouver’s homeless population, and local shelters are seeing an increase in the number of people coming through their doors.
Bill Briscall with RainCity Housing says every night is busy, and serious weather events are no exception.
“We make sure we’ve got the rubber boots, dry clothes on hand, so we can hand those out right away, because if people show up soaked, we want to get them some warmer clothes” he explains. “If there are rooms available, spaces available, we’ll bring them in.”
Briscall says even if RainCity is full, they want to get the word out about vacancies elsewhere.
“People might already know that we’re full and when the emergency weather response is in effect, we do have different outreach teams that reach out to people that may be sleeping outside or sleeping in the rough that, this or that place is open now that wasn’t open before.”
He says you can help by donating warm clothes — including boots, underwear, and mittens.
Jeremy Hunka with the Union Gospel Mission says they see a spike in demand on stormy nights and they can be dangerous for people living on the street.
“We want to get as many people inside as possible,” he says. “Sometimes we are, quite frankly, bursting at the seams, sometimes there might be a few extra spots. We’re definitely expecting to be full or close to full on nights like this.”
He says says they have hired two more staff to get people inside their 20 extra spaces that are open until March.
“It hits hard and it hits fast, more people will choose to come and ask for help,” he says. “The weather on nights like these is really dangerous, it can turn on someone really quickly, and when it’s cold and rainy, it can get even worse, especially when the wind whips-up.”