Four new temporary cold-weather shelters in Vancouver

The BC Government and the City of Vancouver will open four additional temporary winter shelters in Vancouver, providing over 160 spaces, to meet the needs of those living on the streets during the cold and wet weather season.

These four new shelter spaces reflect the City of Vancouver's firm conviction that no one should ever be forced to sleep on the street. They also reflect our commitment to ending street homelessness by 2015. - Mayor Gregor Robertson

A man and his best friend in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
October 24 2012 –

"This agreement with the City represent our mutual commitment to help end street homelessness in our cities," said Premier Christy Clark. "These accommodations will go a long way towards getting people off the streets and into more permanent housing. This will allow us to connect people with the support services they need so they can begin making positive changes in their lives."

These shelters will provide over 160 spaces for the homeless between the end of November 2012 and May 2013. Raincity Housing and Support Society will operate and provide supports at the shelters and link people to housing and community-based support services.

"Shelter is the single most urgent need for citizens who are homeless during the cold and wet months of winter, especially for those who live with disabilities, addiction, or mental health challenges," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "This initiative will help more people in need connect with crucial support services and begin a journey out of homelessness. These new shelter spaces reflect our firm conviction that no one should ever be forced to sleep on the street. These new shelter spaces also reflect our commitment to ending street homelessness by 2015."

The Province will provide up to $1.6 million in funding to operate the shelter spaces, and the City will identify and provide the sites.

The BC Government has also agreed to make funding available for 100 transition housing spaces in Vancouver that will operate for approximately 18 months while the balance of the 14 new supportive housing developments are completed. Seven of the development are currently open. The remainder are under construction or in development. The City will provide the sites for the transition spaces.

There are 638 permanent, year-round shelter beds and approximately 200 temporary year-round HEAT shelter beds in Vancouver.

For the last three years, the Province has opened approximately 160 additional 24/7 shelter spaces in the city for the cold winter months in addition to Extreme Weather Response spaces that are available when an extreme weather alert is activated by the community. The BC Government spends close to $24 million annually to fund services for Vancouver's homeless. This includes permanent and temporary shelters as well as homeless outreach.

Learn about the City's approach to affordable housing

Winter Response Strategy and temporary shelters

The City is working with the Province to provide cold-weather shelter, and connect homeless people to community resources.