Winnipeg homeless shelters are ready to help people in need during cold nights

Winnipeg homeless shelters are ready to help people in need during cold nights, Iryna Chyrkova

Winter is becoming more severe, and people who live on the streets feel it especially strongly.

As it became known, in the coming days, the temperature can become –33 C in Winnipeg. For many homeless it can be very dangerous because they have nowhere to warm up. In connection with this, the city’s shelters are making maximum efforts to accommodate as many people as possible and to give them the opportunity to survive the cold.

"Nobody wants to even walk from their house to their car in some of the weather we're about to experience, so to imagine people having to sleep outside in that is really heart-wrenching," the executive director of 1JustCity, Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud, said.

The woman also noted that Just a Warm Sleep can accommodate about 25 people. This year there has not been a single time when the shelter had been completely filled. Last week, when the cooling began, 12 people came to the shelter, but in the coming days full filling is expected.

"But tonight we are expecting to see well into 20 or more," she said, noting many guests have said they will be telling friends about the shelter "and making sure they can be warm."

Some shelters in the city refuse to accept people who were drinking alcohol before they came. However, Just a Warm Sleep is ready to open its doors to everyone, provided that alcohol or drugs will not be consumed inside. Moreover, people can come with their dogs.

"I just heard a story of somebody experiencing homelessness and their dog passed away because it froze to death outside," Blaikie Whitecloud said. "I can't imagine how attached these folks are to their dogs. That dog is security, that dog is companionship, that dog is social health."

Homeless people can spend the night with their dog in a separate room, which further increases the capacity of the shelter. Tessa also added that the shelter hopes for donations from city residents so that the shelter can place even more people this winter.

Just a Warm Sleep staff collaborates with other urban shelters to accommodate people for whom there is not enough space. Blaikie Whitecloud also asks residents of the city to help everyone with what they can, from socks to old winter jackets and shoes.

"Last year we got to over 25 people a couple of times only and I'm hoping that this year, if and when it happens, through End Homeless Winnipeg and working with those other sites, we'll make sure everyone has a warm place to be." 

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Just a Warm Sleep shelter Homeless people
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