PG Shelters Deal with Deep Freeze
Prince George, B.C. – Frigid temperatures have meant a busy week for homeless shelters in Prince George.
According to Environment Canada, the cold snap could see temperatures plunge to as low as minus 30 by the weekend.
But despite the deep freeze, the shelters are more than ready to help, take for example Bridget Moran Place on Dominion Street.
“We are over capacity, we had 51 people Monday night,” says executive director Audrey Schwartz, adding they never turn anyone away. “We find room for them in this weather, whether that’s a mat on the floor or even a couch, we find room.”
Technically, Bridget Moran Place has space for 40 people – 30 beds plus the extra 10 extreme weather response shelters funded by the provincial government. The same goes for two other shelters in town, Ketso Yoh Centre Men’s Hostel and An Association Advocating for Women and Children (AWAC).
Connie Abe, executive director at AWAC, says the shelters in town have been operating B.C.’s emergency weather response since the brief burst of winter Prince George experienced in mid-October.
She says her agency also provides outreach in the evenings to ensure people find some shelter.
“Our outreach team goes out each night from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. They’re out in the streets in our outreach vehicles and we are connecting to people that are on the street that don’t want to go to a shelter for whatever reason,” says Abe.
“We encourage them to access a shelter, if they don’t we provide dry socks, toques, gloves, hot beverages and food.”
And if they refuse to seek shelter?
“If it’s minus 36 and our outreach team is out and come across an individual that knows they can access a shelter but absolutely refuses to, our team contacts the RCMP and lets them know.”
Though Abe says they can handle the extra demand for space, she does encourage anyone who wants to donate socks or toques to give her office a call at 250-562-6262.