Anita Place homeless camp. (Tim Fitzgerald/THE NEWS)

Extreme weather response plan ready to take in homeless

Maple Ridge's Anita Place residents say determined to weather elements

More homeless people will be coming indoors, as the weather already turns wintry and the province has responded with more temporary shelter beds.

The weather is forecast for a low of zero with snowfall on Saturday in Maple Ridge, -2 C on Sunday and zero again on Monday.

The Salvation Army Caring Place rolls out approximately mats into its dining room area during extreme weather, when the Salvation Army and the city determine that an extreme weather response is warranted.

People at Anita Place Tent City in Maple Ridge told The News this week that they will not be leaving the camp as the winter settles in.

The province announced it is partnering with local governments and non-profit organizations to provide more than 640 winter shelter spaces and more than 800 extreme weather response shelter spaces in more than 40 communities, including Maple Ridge.

“Everyone needs access to a safe and warm place to stay, especially during extreme weather conditions,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The health and safety of people living on the street will always be a priority for our government and their well-being is especially concerning during the cold and wet winter months, when prolonged exposure to extreme conditions could be fatal.”

All regular winter shelter spaces, such as 3030 Gordon in Coquitlam, will be open overnight every night, with many open 24/7, and providing meals and health services.

Both regular winter shelters and extreme weather response shelters will be in operation from Nov. 1 to March 31, 2018.

These spaces supplement the almost 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter spaces available throughout B.C.

The B.C. government also funds outreach teams that work throughout the province at shelters and on the street to help connect individuals experiencing homelessness with housing and support services, such as income assistance and mental-health services.

To learn more about the province’s emergency shelter program, go to: www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/emergency-shelter-program

To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., visit: www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map

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