IN response to the extreme cold temperatures this week, the City of Vancouver on Tuesday announced that it is extending warming centre operations to provide additional capacity for people to come indoors between December 28 to January 2.
Warming centres are activated in addition to Extreme Weather Response Shelters as an additional life-saving response for people sleeping outside when the temperature reaches -5°C or below (or it feels like -5°C or below). They are in addition to other initiatives taken by the City and the Province to ensure people in Vancouver who are experiencing homelessness have a place to keep warm during the winter months.
The City encourages anyone who is sleeping outside to visit one of these centres, which are open to all, including people who have pets and carts. Centres will provide hot drinks and snacks. Up to 161 Warming Centre spaces have been created to bring people inside:
- Powell Street Getaway (528 Powell Street): Open daily 9 pm to 7 am
- Odd Fellows Hall (1443 West 8th Avenue): Open daily 9:30 pm to 8 am (Bikes, but no pets or carts)
- Britannia Community Centre (Gym D) (1661 Napier Street): Open daily 8 pm to 6:30 am
- West End Community Centre (870 Denman Street): Open December28 and 29 from 11 pm to 6 am, December 30 and 31, 11 pm to 9 am, January 1 to 3, 11 pm to 6 am (no carts)
- First Avenue Shelter (1648 East 1st Avenue): Open daily 10 pm to 9 am
- First United (320 East Hastings Street): Open December 28 to 30, 10 pm to 7 am (men only)
- Longhouse Council of Native Ministry (2595 Franklin Street): Open December 28 to 30, 10 pm to 6 am
Measures are in place at all warming centre locations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Face masks are required for everyone accessing warming centres and will be provided for free if needed. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required to access Warming Centres.
Health or social services provided to people in need, such as warming centres, are exempt from the Provincial Health Officer Gatherings and Events Order and are not subject to event or capacity limitations as announced on December 21, 2021.
Extreme Weather Response (EWR) Shelters
EWR shelters are funded by BC Housing and are activated when an extreme weather alert is issued for Vancouver, when there is sleet or freezing rain, snow accumulation, and/or temperatures at or below 0°C, or “feels like” 0°C with wind chill. Up to 114 spaces have been created at the following locations to bring people inside:
- Directions Youth Services Centre (1138 Burrard Street): Open 10 pm to 7 am
- Tenth Church (11 10th Avenue West at Ontario Street): Open 9:30 pm to 9 am
- Cascades Church (3833 Boundary Road, west side of Boundary): Open 9:30 pm to 9 am
- Evelyne Saller Centre (320 Alexander Street): Open 11 pm to 7:30 am (Final intake at 1 am)
- Langara YMCA (282 West 49th Avenue, south side of 49th): Open 8 pm to 8 am
- Bud Osborn EWR (27 West Hastings Street): Open 7:30 pm to 7:30 am
NOTE: Alerts for these EWR and warming centre spaces are circulated to partner agencies, community centre staff, outreach program staff and a variety of agencies serving individuals experiencing homelessness. Details are posted to the City’s website and social media channels and available here. Check daily for any updates on locations and openings.
In addition to the extreme weather drop-in spaces above, there are also permanent and temporary shelters in operation. Those looking for shelter space can call 2-1-1 to check availability or find a full list of shelters online.
Additional Warm Spaces
As a reminder, community centres, public libraries and other public buildings are also available during their opening hours as spaces for people to come inside to warm up:
City of Vancouver Community Centres:
- The Gathering Place (609 Helmcken Street): Open 8:45 am to 8 pm
- Carnegie Community Centre (401 Main Street): Open 9 am to 11 pm
- Evelyne Saller Centre (320 Alexander Street): Open Monday–Friday 9 am to 11 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 10 pm
Park Board Community Centres:
Vancouver Public Library
- Central Library Branch Atrium and Washroom (350 West Georgia Street): Open December 28 to 30 from 7 am to 9 pm, December 31, 7 am to 6:30 pm, and January 1, 8 am to 8 pm.
- Library Branches: https://www.vpl.ca/hours-locations
Please check City of Vancouver social media accounts for warming centre spaces open beyond January 2, 2022. The City is monitoring the evolving weather forecast closely and will be taking additional measures as needed.
City Continues 24/7 Snow and Ice Removal Efforts
In response to freezing temperatures and snow, City crews are continuing to monitor the weather and a coordinated response plan for snow and ice treatment is underway. Key routes including major roads, bus routes, bridges and the 15 most-used walking pathways and bike routes are currently being treated with brine ahead of potential snow and ice conditions.
The City’s response through the week will be guided by the weather. With over 100 vehicles, 8,000 tonnes of guaranteed salt supply, and hundreds of personnel available to deploy as required, crews will remain focused on keeping priority routes clear of snow and ice. If your vehicle is parked on a major route, please plan ahead by moving it to a side street or garage.
Due to the freezing temperatures, green bin collection has been temporarily suspended this week. Sanitation crews will focus on collecting garbage, which is picked up every two weeks. Street crews are also working on secondary routes to assist with garbage collection. The City appreciates the public’s patience with these service delays.
Residents also have a critical role to play in our snow and ice response. Following a snow event, all property owners and tenants must clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property or residence the morning after a snowfall, seven days a week.
The City also encourages residents and businesses to lend a hand to those who are unable to shovel their own sidewalks, particularly seniors and people with mobility challenges by signing up to become a Snow Angel.