With temperatures continuing to dip into the negative zone, Surrey has opened its extreme weather beds earlier than planned.
Peter Fedos, the Extreme Weather Coordinator for Surrey and White Rock, said the forecast of an El Nino winter (a climate condition characterized by warm ocean temperatures, which keepsweather temperate) has not developed yet.
Surrey opened the extreme shelters from Nov. 11 to 13, then opened them again on Nov. 19.
They have remained open since then and are expected to be up and running until at least Tuesday (Dec. 1).
This year, rather than opening all 80 beds at once, organizers are opening a few and making more available as they are needed. Most years, many shelters open, but have several unused spaces.
The new method is hoped to maximize the use of available funding, while keeping a reasonable workload for social service providers.
Surrey Urban Mission and other sites will open as needed, depending on the weather and anticipated need.
That time looks like it’s arrived, Fedos said.
“I’m looking at White Rock, and they’re averaging eight (people) a night,” Fedos said. “And that’s a pretty good indication people are coming in out of the cold.”
Extreme weather alerts are issued when temperatures dip below freezing, when there is significant snow or windstorms, or heavy rains when it becomes difficult to keep dry.
Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing for the next week, according to Environment Canada.
Beds that are being made available are at the following locations:
• Cloverdale Community Kitchen, 5337 180 St. – 15 beds.
• Hyland House Newton – Options Community Services Society, 6595 King George Hwy. – 15 beds.
• Legacy Church EWR – Lookout Emergency Aid Society, 9012 160th St. – 25 beds.
• Positive Haven EWR Shelter – Lookout Emergency Aid Society, 10697 135A St. – 10 beds.
Anyone in need of a warm place to sleep is encouraged to drop by one of the above locations for information or call 211.