Temporary winter shelters more accommodating than permanent shelters

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Beds lined up in a temporary winter shelter on 1401 Hornby & Granville St.
Beds lined up in a temporary winter shelter on 1401 Hornby & Granville St. Photo: Sean Hitrec

Reported by Sean Hitrec

A 50-year-old man who only goes by Roger, has been homeless in Vancouver for over 30 years, hates permanent shelters, and enjoys temporary shelters.

This comes at a time when RainCity Housing plans to open up a shelter on 1401 Hornby Street that will be open from early December to April of next year.

Lounge area and trained nurses in temporary shelter

The shelter will accommodate up to 40 people and is part of a yearly temporary shelter provided by BC Housing. Accommodations include a separate lounge and eating area, nurses and naloxone training for staff.

Roger prefers sleeping outside to staying in permanent shelters.

Roger prefers a winter shelter than a permanent shelter. Photo: Sean Hitrec
Roger prefers a winter shelter than a permanent shelter. Photo: Sean Hitrec

“You’re putting [together] a lot of people that have bad habits,” he said.

“People stealing from you, night terrors in the bed beside you, in the other bed people are snoring, the other bed, the guy’s eyeing your gear up.”

However, the temporary winter shelters, which he said are usually smaller, are a much better environment to sleep in.

“Things are kept under control, they keep an eye on stuff,” he said. “It’s a smaller atmosphere and we’re listened to in those atmospheres.”

Temporary project goals align with current shelters

Celine Mauboules, senior planner with housing policy and projects with the City of Vancouver, said the goals of the temporary projects align with current shelters.

“I think it’s a real priority to ensure that we give people an opportunity to come inside, get people connected with services and then [housing],” Mauboules said.

“And also, our real priority is to ensure that [they are] managed responsibly and safely to ensure that they are well integrated into the community.”

“As far as temporary shelters goes, this is the best that we’ve had,” said Sherri Matt, the maintenance manager for RainCity Housing.

“Bringing people in, building trust, hopefully gaining them permanent housing. That’s what it’s all about, right?”

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