polo jeans Winnipeg creates more warm overnight shelters
Three groups within Winnipeg homeless community are being offered new places to escape the cold overnight, at least for the rest of this winter.
A $50,000 project announced Thursday will offer warm, safe spaces geared to youth, women and LGBT2SQ Winnipeggers, who may otherwise feel stranded outside in the extreme cold. Overnight safe spaces will open seven days a week until March 31 at two different sites, thanks to $20,000 from the city and $30,000 from the Winnipeg Foundation.
shelters don allow anyone under 18 and while women and the LGBT2SQ community are accepted in other shelters, some, I advised, don feel comfortable in what typically a male dominated environment, said Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman.
Organizers say the time limited effort will offer immediate protection to at risk Winnipeggers while work continues to develop a long term strategy.
On Thursday, Environment Canada predicted Winnipeg temperature would drop to an overnight low of 26 C and wind chill of 34, extreme weather that has proven deadly in the past. Manitoba Chief Medical Examiner tracked 146 deaths from exposure to frigid temperatures between 2004 and 2014.
And it been tough to protect some women from that risk, especially those who been sexually assaulted or exploited, said Lorie English, executive director of the West Central Women Resource Centre.
English said many women fear seeking spots at Winnipeg three main downtown shelters due to the close proximity to male clients and instead choose to walk the streets all night.
English stressed that shelters run by Siloam Mission, the Salvation Army and the Main Street Project serve a critical need but believes the latest project will complement those facilities. She expects a location to host 30 to 40 warming centre spaces for women and LGBTS2Q people will soon be finalized.
Mike Tutthill, executive director of the Rainbow Resource Centre, an agency supporting the LGBT2SQ community, agreed the need is immediate.
homeless folks in our community do not feel safe in the existing shelter system, said Tutthill.
Meanwhile, up to 40 youth overnight spaces were slated to open Thursday at West End 24 Safe Spaces, which could eliminate a service gap, said Jamil Mahmood, executive director of the Spence Neighbourhood Association, which operates the site.
resources are open during the day and the evening. It really that night time that everything closed, Mahmood.
A spotlight was cast on the danger of extreme cold after 29 year old Windy Sinclair froze to death in the West Broadway area on Dec. 28, 2017. English notes Sinclair wasn homeless, but said her death raised awareness of service gaps.