Cold weather shelter too full, buses homeless to other communities

The Gateway of Hope shelter has had send some people to other shelters as they ran out of room.

Langley’s Gateway of Hope homeless shelter is so full that on a few nights this year, it has had to turn away people from its Extreme Weather Response program.

The program activates on particularly cold and wet nights, and provides an additional 15 beds, bringing the total number of mats to 45, including the regular emergency shelter.

“Some nights we’re full, last night [Sunday], we only had five,” said Tiffany Sawatzky, the residential services manager at Gateway of Hope.

On a few nights, they have had more than 15 people and have had to turn people away. Sawatzky said they have never turned away more than three people.

To help people who still need somewhere to sleep, the shelter is running a BC Housing pilot project that gives people free bus tickets and listings of shelters in other communities. Most of them are in Surrey.

But Sawatzky said sometimes people don’t want to leave the Langley area and don’t accept the tickets.

“It’s busier when it rains,” Sawatzky said. Rain makes it harder to keep warm.

The Extreme Weather Response has been running in Langley for more than a decade. Before Gateway of Hope was built, the program hosted people in local churches.

So far, the program has been activated for 12 nights this year.

The Gateway of Hope currently already has a large number of shelter beds. Last year, BC Housing provided funding to expand its shelter program to deal with a surge of people expected after Langley City closed down a homeless camp in a park on the Nicomekl River floodplain. The camp was cleared out partly because of fears for the campers’ safety, in an area where water can rise quickly during heavy rain.

That program was meant to be temporary, lasting through the winter of 2016/17, but it has been renewed and has now run for more than a year and a half.

There are presently no plans to expand the shelter, but BC Housing is planning for a 49-room supportive housing project in the former Quality Inn near 200th Street and 66th Avenue.

That project has proved controversial with nearby residents.

• Read More: Residents seek info on Langley supportive housing plans

Just Posted

$7.4 million in funding for seniors’ housing in Mission

Province announced today that it will provide funding for 74 new housing units for local seniors

Gas prices in Metro Vancouver to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

Abbotsford murder victim identified as Jagvir Malhi

Police say killing linked to Lower Mainland gang conflict

UPDATE: Man, 19, dies in shooting on Ross Road in Abbotsford

Victim was airlifted to hospital Monday afternoon, but died shortly afterwards

BC Ferries passengers wait to leave Vancouver Island after Remembrance Day

Traffic aboard BC Ferries slows after Remembrance Day long weekend

Throw a snowball to help kids at BC Children’s Hospital

Effort will raise money for sick kids over the holidays

UPDATE: Pedestrian hit by train in Maple Ridge

Emergency responders on tracks along River Road

Should the legal age for cannabis be increased to 21?

B.C. residents have a more mellow attitude to the age limit for pot – but 23 per cent want the legal age increased

Expect ride hailing in B.C. by 2020, Premier Horgan says

Taxi-style insurance option needed for part-time drivers

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Canada Post strike having ‘critical’ impact on retailers, eBay tells PM

Canada Post says it is now facing an unprecedented backlog of shipments, largely as a result of strikes

NASA wants Canadian boots on the moon as first step in deep space exploration

The U.S. is seeking broad international support for the next-generation space station to send into orbit a in 2021

B.C. Lions GM Ed Hervey has plan for busy off-season

The Lions’ season ended Sunday with a crushing 48-8 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Division semifinal

Vancouver Island man survived for ‘days’ trapped in smashed truck

Duncan Moffat, 23, found by hunter by the side of the road near Sayward

Most Read