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Port Moody to offer shelter to homeless during extreme winter weather

Homeless people in the Tri-Cities will be able to shelter from extreme weather this winter at Port Moody's Kyle Centre.
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Port Moody's Kyle Centre will be used as an emergency shelter during extreme weather this winter.

Phoenix Society will operate a new extreme weather response shelter at Port Moody’s Kyle Centre this winter.

On Tuesday (Oct. 12), council approved the use of the facility as a refuge for the homeless when the weather gets especially cold, wet or windy.

In a report presented to council last November, Port Moody’s acting general manager of community services, Ron Higo, said the facility is well-situated as an extreme weather shelter because it’s close to transit routes, and it has a large interior space and kitchen equipped with tables and chairs, as well as multiple bathrooms. Eagle Ridge Hospital is also not far away.

“These beds could be the difference between life and death for those who are homeless and living outdoors during extreme weather,” said Keir Macdonald, the CEO of Phoenix Society, in a news release.

Polly Krier, the coordinator of the Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group, said giving people without homes a safe place in the Tri-Cities to get out of bad weather fills an important gap as the area is currently without such a facility.

“These operations are essential as this is the only respite we have for individuals in Tri-Cities during periods of life-threatening weather,” she said, adding the Phoenix Society was able to organize a shelter in a Coquitlam church on short notice when the weather turned nasty for a stretch last February.

That shelter, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Robson Drive, had capacity for 20 mats, of which up to 10 were used every night.

In addition to giving homeless individuals a place to get out of the weather, Phoenix Society also provides meals, warm clothing and naloxone.

The Kyle Centre shelter is expected to be ready to open on Nov. 1 with the ability to serve up to 20 people per night, although that could be increased if there’s a demand.

According to BC Housing, which provides funding to operate extreme weather shelters, they’re opened when temperatures are at or below 0 degrees Celsius, or if there’s significant snow, rain or windstorms that could endanger people living in makeshift shelters or in wooded areas.

To accommodate the shelter, programming at Kyle Centre is being limited to short-term uses from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning this month to March 2022.

To get ready for the shelter, Phoenix Society is collecting donations of jackets, gloves, winter boots and other items that can be distributed to clients once it's operational.

For more information, you're encouraged to email [email protected].