WINTER HITS VICTORIA
Saturday December 13, 2008 winter finally hit Victoria, hard! Snow fell overnight and then temperatures dropped well below zero with a low on Sunday night at -8 C. Gusting winds, ice, and a lack of snow removal made movement in the downtown core extremely difficult. Hitting on a weekend this storm caught homeless people in a very hard place since many facilities were closed. “Our Place,” with a new $15 million building, was closed all day Saturday and Sunday due to a funding shortage, which does not allow for weekend staff. Finally money made available from the “Emergency Weather Protocol” opened the doors of “Our Place” at 7pm Sunday. They were full within 45 minutes since floor space, linoleum on concrete, was only available for 50 homeless people. Sunday afternoon a church basement, St. John the Devine, was opened for coffee and a place to get out of the snow. They closed at 7pm and then allowed people to sleep on the floor at 10pm. Other outreach offices in the downtown core were closed although the Salvation army and Street Link provided a few more spaces than usual.
Deadly temperatures continue to threaten more than 1500 homeless people living on the streets of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. When the Extreme Weather Protocol is in full effect there are a total of 316 beds/mats/floor spaces available in all of Greater Victoria.
more information if available at: http://www.vewp.net