Emergency shelters in Regina are using a coordinated approach to make sure the homeless have a place to stay as demand exceeds supply during this recent run of brutally cold weather.
The Salvation Army recently expanded its emergency shelter beds from 32 to 52.
The expansion was done just in time for the arrival of the extreme cold weather in December.
The Executive Director of the Salvation Army’s Waterston Centre in Regina, Major Martin McCarter says over the last weekend the shelter was filled beyond capacity as the temperature dropped to near minus 50 with the windchill.
“If we didn’t have the 52 beds, where would the 52 people be? That’s the kind of question that comes to our mind as well.”
Being homeless is a growing problem in Regina. The city’s population is increasing, and so is the number of homeless people. Major McCarter says being homeless is a life and death struggle in the dead of a Saskatchewan winter.
“Yes, much so and I must say there has been a far greater attempt to work together with other service providers to try to coordinate some of the issues that relate to homelessness especially in extreme weather conditions.”
All of the shelters were bursting at the seams over the weekend. Right now the salvation army is filled to capacity, but it is managing.
Major McCarter is grateful they have 20 extra beds to offer up this year. He wonders where those people would have gone if the Salvation army did not have the extra capacity.
On the upside, the worst of the cold snap appears to be over.
Temperatures are expected to rise to near normal over the next few days.