Winnipeg needs more warming centres

Winnipeg needs more warming centres, Iryna Chyrkova

Winnipeg is known to be one of the coldest cities of Canada. The temperature easily reaches -30C in winter, and a lot of people do not feel safe.

Freezing weather is especially dangerous for homeless people of the city. A lot of profit and non-profit organizations are involved in helping the homeless. However, many people who live on the streets still have no place to spend cold winter nights.

Nancy Chippendale said that such a central place is very important for the city. People will know that there is a place where they can come no matter what. Nancy is an activist who is fighting for around the clock warming centre for the homeless. According to the woman, the government should run such a place.

At the moment, many people are trying to find a place to spend the night, and often their search isn't successful, and they have to stay on the street.

When the night temperature fell below -45C, the mayor of Winnipeg said that there are shelters in the city that are happy to place people. The representatives of shelters communicate with each other and can tell a person in which shelter he can go if the one where he came to is full.

Brian Bowman does not think that opening of city-run warming centres is a good idea as some problems can arise.

"What we were advised by the agencies that are in the business of providing this care is that if you open up a space, you need to make sure that it's properly staffed for the protective safety and well-being of those that are provided it," Bowman explained.

Unfortunately, statistics are not encouraging

Between 2010 and 2017, about 100 people died in Manitoba of hypothermia. More than 20 of them were registered in Winnipeg. However, provincial forensic medical experts said that the main cause of death was not the case of spending the night on the street, but the fact that they were intoxicated.

For example, Windy Sinclair, 29, was found dead in 2017. She was frozen to death, but the woman was not homeless. Sinclair had a crystal meth addiction. Her addiction became the reason for the departure on the street.

Adrienne Dudek from the Main Street Project explained that often shelters are overcrowded and there are no free places for people coming there.

"That's where you start to see people more in the Winnipeg Transit bus shacks," she said. "They're survivalists. Quite often, people who aren't comfortable staying in shelters in general, or are not able to access a shelter, will find other public places."

Rob Kerr from the Salvation Army believes that a safe, city-run warming centre can change the situation for the better as all people who do not have a place to go or who are intoxicated can come there and spend the night. 

MORE NEWS: Frostbite: what it is and what to do with it

homeless people Main Street Project Salvation Army
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