The 45 beds at Warmland were full every night during the winter months.

The 30 emergency shelter beds, which are available year-round were full every night, while the extreme weather beds, available between November 1 and March 31, were also full when the weather was bad.

The Cowichan Mental Health Association runs the shelters and the Executive Director of the CMHA, James Tousignant said there was a third warming option for those in need.

“Some individuals really have a challenge, being within community, with other people in the room,” said Tousignant. “We ran a warming program, where people could just warm up in a chair for two or three hours and then head back out again.”

Tousignant said the Women’s Winter Warming Shelter eased some of the capacity issues.

“It was great to have the women’s shelter operating and they were taking 15 individuals (10 or 15 a night), we were taking another 45 or 50, that’s an unusually high number of people seeking shelter for us, in our experience here for the past ten years.”

When the Women’s Winter Warming Shelter came online, Tousignant says the numbers decreased slightly, but they bounced back quickly.