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Temporary emergency shelter ready for winter blast

Extreme weather beds for local homeless people open tonight at a facility inside the Cloverdale Mall, AKA the old Safeway Mall. - JENNIFER LANG/CLOVERDALE REPORTER
Extreme weather beds for local homeless people open tonight at a facility inside the Cloverdale Mall, AKA the old Safeway Mall.
— image credit: JENNIFER LANG/CLOVERDALE REPORTER

Extreme weather beds in downtown Cloverdale opened Friday night, giving local homeless people a warm place to find shelter against frigid winter weather that arrived with a blast.

The temporary shelter, operated by Cloverdale Fellowship Church in the old Cloverdale Mall, will be open from Nov. 19 to 24, providing floorspace, meals and a safe place to spend the night during the cold snap.

Colder temperatures are in the forecast early this week, with overnight lows as cold as minus 7 degrees.

The 15 beds in Cloverdale are among 370 extreme weather beds providers across Metro Vancouver will have opened by Saturday night.

Warm clothing and food will also be available to those taking refuge at the temporary overnight shelter, located inside a space that ordinarily functions as a soup kitchen several days a week.

Representatives working to prepare the space for tonight's opening said there are currently between 15 and 20 homeless people in downtown Cloverdale who sleep in doorways or stairwells, or in makeshift encampments across the tracks.

Additional extreme weather beds are opening this weekend at Surrey Urban Mission, Hyland House Newton and Nightshift Ministries.

Cities across Metro Vancouver activate extreme weather response plans and shelter sites open extra spaces for the homeless when weather is considered severe enough to pose a substantial threat to health and safety.

In most cases, the extreme weather spaces consist of mats and blankets on a floor, not an actual bed.

– With files from Black Press

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