UPDATE: Warm zone opens for Hope’s homeless population

Two men facing homelessness said they spend 50 hours per week outdoors

People facing homelessness in Hope now have a warm place to be during the day.

The Thunderbird Motel already houses a winter weather shelter during the night. It will now be open 24 hours a day after BC Housing money was granted to the Hope and Area Transition Society.

Gerry Dyble, executive director, said not having a warm place during daytime hours was an oversight on the part of the society. She made a phone call to BC Housing last week to inform them of the need in the community.

“In the urban centres there are other places where folks can go during the day, and we don’t have that. It’s something that we need to build into our extreme weather program in the future, however in the meantime, for this year, we need to be having a warm zone,” she told BC Housing.

The approval came quickly, within one day BC Housing said they were granting the society the money needed to open a warm zone.

Last week, two men who use the extreme weather program said they spend up to 50 hours per week outdoors. As a result, they said they experience constant head colds, burning extremities and hypothermia.

“Our biggest issue is, to tell you the truth, the time we’re not allowed in (the weather shelter),” Dave Phelps said at the time.

“No matter what the weather is, doesn’t matter if its snowing, raining, freezing rain, doesn’t matter what the weather is. You feel sick, you feel frozen.”

Phelps and friend Andrew Michael Wallace said being outside for extended periods of time takes an emotional toll as well.

“It seems like nobody cares, we’re nothing to them. Because if we were, something would be done about it,” Phelps said.

Dyble did not disclose the amount provided by BC Housing, but said it will pay for one extra staff position which will be filled by current extreme weather employees.

It will also be put towards food served in the warm zone, transportation to and from the Thunderbird Motel and operating costs including heat and electricity. HATS is leasing the building at 63030 Flood Hope Road.

The warm zone will be open only when extreme weather is called. The society can call for extreme weather between November and Mar. 31 when the emergency shelter is full, when temperatures reach zero or below, when there is snow accumulation and when the weather becomes a threat to the life and health of people who are homeless.

Extreme weather is currently called and Dyble expects it could remain in place until the official end Mar. 31.

For next year, Dyble said the plan is for a 24-hour warm zone to be built into the extreme weather program.

The amount of homeless people in the Fraser Valley is the highest its ever been. A 2017 Fraser Valley Regional District report surveyed 36 people in Hope and six in Boston Bar who identified as homeless. Hope also had the highest proportion of homeless people identifying as Aboriginal in the Fraser Valley.

 

The Thunderbird Motel project at 63030 Flood Hope Road houses a shelter, transitional housing and now a warm zone for people who are homeless to go during the day. (Emelie Peacock photo)

Just Posted

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

Gas price drop expected to hit Fraser Valley today

Analyst says to take advantage, warns slight increase may follow

HATS invites Hope residents to talk about addiction in the midst of opioid overdose crisis

First talk happening Thursday, Nov. 15 at Blue Moose Coffee House

Chilliwack teen to take on the world after winning Canadian junior dog-handling national championship

Chilliwack’s Kayla Penney is heading to Crufts to compete for her first international title

Country talent Petunia returns to Bozzini’s in Chilliwack Saturday

Petunia, performing Nov. 17, is referred to as ‘The Savior of Country Music’

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read