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Vancouver's winter shelters hit full capacity within hours of opening

December 11 2015

Province and City of Vancouver partner to provide winter shelters

After reaching full capacity within hours of opening their doors, Vancouver's four temporary winter shelters have had to consistently turn people away due to a lack of available beds.

Winter shelters that have been at full capacity

1648 East 1st Avenue

The newest winter shelter location, opened at 1648 East 1st Avenue was selected based on significant homeless populations in the area and has recorded over 50 turnaways since opening on December 4, 2015.

900 Pacific Street

The winter shelter at 900 Pacific Street was full within the first few hours of intake and has also seen turnaways.

119 E. Cordova and 134 E. Cordova

Both Salvation Army shelters (119 E. Cordova and 134 E. Cordova) have also met maximum capacity.

Need for further shelters

Urgent demand for access to Vancouver's emergency winter shelters is a reminder of the need for further shelter spaces to provide Vancouver's homeless population with a warm, safe space to sleep.

This year, the BC government provided $1.5 million in funding and we contributed up to $800,000 towards building operations for these 170 temporary winter shelter beds in Vancouver.

The temporary winter shelters are in addition to the more than 1,100 spaces in: permanent shelters, detox and recovery houses, transition houses and safe houses in Vancouver.

Our investements in interim or permanent supportive housing

Our investments in interim or permanent supportive housing in recent years include the opening of the:

  • Quality Inn with 157 rooms in response to the homeless encampment at Oppenheimer Park
  • 54 rooms at 3475 East Hastings
  • 56 rooms at Taylor Manor
  • 100 rooms at the former Bosman Hotel

In the year preceding the 2015 Homeless Count, more than 300 new units of supportive housing were tenanted by homeless individuals. Since 2009 more than 1,000 street and sheltered homeless have been housed in permanent housing.

We are committed to ending street homelessness in Vancouver and has dedicated $85 million from the Capital Plan to enable the creation of 2,550 new supportive and social housing units.

What are shelters?

Shelters allow people facing homelessness to get off the streets and connect with staff who can provide them with support and services to find more permanent housing. Last year's winter shelters helped 79 homeless residents transition into permanent housing between December 1, 2014, and April 30, 2015.

Donate to a shelter

During the cold winter months, donations to the local shelters are always welcome.

Donate or volunteer and see what's in need

About the temporary shelters

The temporary shelters are operated by:

  • RainCity Housing and Support Society (900 Pacific and 1648 E. 1st)
  • Salvation Army (119 E. Cordova and 134 E. Cordova)

All shelters will operate until April 30, 2016.

All shelters are open 24/7 (except 134 E. Cordova) and provide a range of health and housing support services, including serving three meals a day.

The Carnegie Outreach Team provides outreach support services and rental assistance to help homeless people access stable, long-term housing.

Read our winter response strategy