An emergency warming shelter is soon opening its doors in Tri-Cities, following Port Moody Council approving the use of Kyle Centre for Extreme Weather Response (EWR) on Oct. 12.
City staff are entering into a Memorandum of Understanding between the Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group, authorizing the Task Group to select a service provider to run the site.
Phoenix Society has been chosen as the operator.
“This partnership, with a service provider as experienced as Phoenix Society, represents the first such investment by the City of Port Moody in its history to help those in need,” said Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov.
Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group Coordinator Polly Krier said the partners are “deeply grateful” to Port Moody Mayor and Council for their unanimous support of the Extreme Weather Response shelter.
“Considering the rapid response and their successful implementation of last year’s Extreme Weather Response shelter in Coquitlam, Phoenix Society was the obvious choice to operate this new program. These operations are essential as this is the only respite we have for individuals in Tri-Cities during periods of life-threatening weather.”
The opening of the new shelter is part of the provincial Extreme Weather Response (EWR) program which provides indoor shelter for those who are unhoused during life-threatening weather events including temperatures below zero, high winds and/or heavy rainfall. This shelter opens only when these conditions are met, and an Extreme Weather Alert is activated. The EWR program is a provincially funded initiative that officially runs from Nov. 1 to March 31 and in past years, similar operations have been open an average of 60 nights per season in Tri-Cities.
“While we are thankful to see an Extreme Weather Response shelter approved in Tri-Cities, we continue to look for a service provider to host a nightly winter shelter at churches who have made their space available,” said Krier.
Last winter, Phoenix Society operated the only Emergency Weather Response shelter in Tri-Cities. That shelter – a partnership between Phoenix Society, the City of Coquitlam and BC Housing – was run out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Coquitlam at 3345 Robson Dr. It provided 20 mats for both men and women. This facility saw an average of 8-10 individuals per night, and Phoenix Society provided a range of services including meals, warm clothing and naloxone.
“We are so encouraged to see the City of Port Moody and the Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group taking quick action to approve a location for an Extreme Weather Response shelter this winter. Temperatures have already dipped in the region, and shelter space is lacking in the Tri-Cities,” said Keir Macdonald, CEO of Phoenix Society.
“These beds could be the difference between life and death for those who are homeless and living outdoors during extreme weather,” Macdonald added.
The Extreme Weather Response shelter is expected to open Nov. 1 at Kyle Centre (125 Kyle St., Port Moody). The partners anticipate the program will serve 15-20 individuals per night, however Kyle Centre has capacity to serve a higher number of individuals if the demand is greater than anticipated.
Donations of jackets, gloves, winter boots and other items will be needed once the shelter is operational. Those wishing to contribute can email [email protected], or donate online making a ‘Dedication’ to the ‘Port Moody Extreme Weather Shelter’ here: https://donate-can.keela.co/phoenix-society.
Phoenix Society is a multi-service agency dedicated to providing accessible services and opportunities to people who face barriers related to addiction, mental health, housing, education, criminal justice involvement and/or employment. In 2020, Phoenix provided services to over 2,000 individuals through its Residential Substance Use Treatment, Supportive Housing, Employment, Extreme Weather Shelters, Community Corrections, Counselling, Home Ownership and Outreach Programs.
Learn more at phoenixsociety.com.
For media inquiries contact:
Amy Reid, Fund Development and Communications Manager