Once again Phoenix Society will operate an Extreme Weather Shelter in the community of Surrey this winter. Located on the ground floor of the Phoenix Centre at 13686 94A Avenue in Surrey, a total of 15 mats will be available (10 for men and 5 for women) on nights where temperatures drop below “feels like” zero degrees Celsius.
As temperatures in the Lower Mainland region unexpectedly dropped to freezing temperatures in late October, Phoenix Society was able to promptly set-up it’s shelter earlier than usual to support those who needed shelter from the unseasonably cold temperatures. Although the provincial extreme weather response program doesn’t officially begin until November 1, Phoenix opened their doors to the homeless two days early, with BC Housing’s approval.
This marks the second straight year where Phoenix Society has participated in the Extreme Weather Response (EWR) program. Last year between December 2018 and March 2019, Phoenix’s Emergency Extreme Weather shelter was opened for 76 nights, serving 876 individuals that had no shelter from extreme temperatures.
About The Extreme Weather Program
The EWR program is a provincially funded initiative that supports community-based services to provide additional temporary emergency shelter spaces during periods of extreme winter weather which threaten the health and safety of individuals experiencing homelessness.
This program is designed to provide time-limited, weather responsive, temporary shelter spaces in communities where there is not sufficient emergency shelter bed capacity during extreme weather conditions. The expected outcomes of the EWR program are decreased health and safety risks to homeless people during periods of extreme winter weather and a reduction of street homelessness during extreme winter weather.
Two emergency weather shelters open early in Surrey – Cold temperatures prompt early opening of the extreme weather beds in Cloverdale, North Surrey (Surrey Now Leader, October 30, 2019)