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Island emergency weather shelters provide warmth, safety through cold winter months

BCers in need of a warm, safe place to stay during the cold, wet winter months will have access to additional emergency shelter spaces this year.

That’s according to the Province of BC, as local partners provide thousands of temporary shelter spaces and over 350 extreme weather response shelter spaces province-wide.

In Duncan, the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society operates a 10-bed temporary shelter at 602-222 Cowichan Way. It’s open to people 19 years and older, with an expected closing date of March 31, 2022.

“These emergency shelter programs are made possible through partnerships with communities and non-profit groups,” the Province said in a Nov. 4 release, noting more shelters may be added throughout the winter when needed.

As well, extreme weather response shelters, which typically open each year from Nov. 1 until March 31, are available overnight when a community issues an extreme weather alert.

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The Canadian Mental Health Association actually operates a 15-bed extreme weather shelter at 2579 Lewis St., open to people 19 and older.

Elsewhere, farther north, there’s also a shelter Campbell River.

That city’s Coalition to End Homelessness coordinator, Stefanie Hendrickson, finds shelters really go a long way, especially with the windy, wet weather we’re accustomed to.

“People are often going to sleep in equipment that’s already wet from the previous night, which becomes a very dangerous situation for illness, injury, and even death,” she told Vista Radio.

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