THE Ksan House Society’s extreme weather shelter has been open 49 nights as of Nov. 27 since it officially went into operation Oct. 9.
With 20 sleeping cots available at the All Nations Centre on Sparks St., average occupancy has been 8.31 people per night for a total of 407 clients, says society executive director Amanda Bains.
Another three sleeping spaces have been added, when needed, at the society’s regular homeless shelter.
Through a contract with the provincial government’s BC Housing agency, the society makes the extra sleeping spaces available when declaring an extreme weather alert for any day or days between Nov. 1 and March 31.
This year, however, in response to the weather, the extra spaces were made available as of Oct. 9.
Under the contract, an extreme weather alert is defined as “temperatures near zero with rainfall that makes it difficult or impossible for homeless people to remain dry; and/or sleet freezing rain; and/or wet snow/slush/rain snow mixed and/or periods of extended rain; and/or snow accumulated; and/or sustained high winds; and/or temperatures at or below -2 degree Celsius including wind chill factors.”
The society rents the All Nations Centre from its owner, a society sponsored by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, with its extra sleeping spaces available from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. on those days when an alert is issued.
Those using the sleeping mats receive a meal at night and breakfast in the morning.
An increase in the number of homeless people here from last year to this year, based on a city survey, has heightened the issue with the society’s regular shelter being consistently full.